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State charges challenged at Brown murder trial

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

Heated exchanges took place Wednesday between a prosecution witness and a defense attorney, during court proceedings in the Charles Edward Brown murder trial.

Brown is accused of killing Gregory Ryan Gilliam on March 8, 2009, outside the Irish Bred Pub, formerly in McDonough.

The state maintains that Brown, a bouncer at the pub at the time of the incident, fatally stabbed Gilliam in the shoulder area, and back, with a knife, and cut the victim on the neck, during a fight. Brown is charged with malice murder, felony murder, voluntary manslaughter and two counts of aggravated assault.

During cross-examination by defense attorney, Ricky Morris, Wednesday, the state's witness, Louie Daly, admitted that he never saw Brown assault Gilliam with a knife, as the prosecution alleges. Rather, the witness said, Gilliam "tackled" the defendant.

Daly was cut while trying to take the knife away from Brown in the struggle outside the bar, according to Assistant District Attorney Atha Pryor.

The witness said he was at the pub with a group of friends, when he saw Brown, Gilliam and Eddie Wood among a group of people arguing outside the bar. Daly got involved in the altercation when it turned physical, and attempted to break up the fight, he said.

Daly told Pryor that Brown, before the fight began, went after Wood, who was with Gilliam. The reason, the witness said, was because the victim "disrespected" Rebekah Thrasher, a waitress at the bar, who took Gilliam's drink away at closing time.

"As he's running, trying to chase Eddie, Ryan breaks through the group and spears, or lunges toward [Brown]," said Daly. "As he [Gilliam] lunges toward him [Brown ], the knife pierced the back of his [Gilliam's] lung."

Morris questioned Daly's recollection of the night's events, which again drew a sharp response from the witness. "I'm certain that he [Gilliam] lunged toward him [Brown]," said Daly. "I'm certain that I saw him [Brown], stab [Gilliam] in the neck."

Morris then questioned Daly, regarding how he [the witness] suffered a cut on his hand from the defendant's knife. "[Brown] never tried to hurt you with the knife, did he?" asked Morris. "You ... put yourself in the middle of the situation, and cut yourself reaching for the knife."

Morris questioned Daly as to why he did not tell police, who arrived at the scene, about his involvement in the fight. Daly appeared to become agitated, when he offered a reply to the lawyer. "They didn't even speak to me," Daly said with a raised voice. "They never approached me. Seven times, I called them. I tried to speak to somebody, and everybody referred me to somebody else."

Another prosecution witness, Alonzo Brown, ll, testified that he was at the bar with co-workers just before the fight broke out. Brown -- no relation to the defendant -- said he saw a man outside the bar encounter Charles Brown in the midst of "commotion" at the pub.

"[The man] was running past us, and I could hear him say, 'I don't want any trouble,'" said Alonzo Brown, II.

He added that Charles Brown, carrying a knife, pursued the man outside the bar.

"He was walking briskly after the guy, and he said, 'You better run, you better run,'" said Alonzo Brown, ll.

The trial is expected to continue today, in Henry County Superior Court.