Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Defendant With a Conscience

Apologies for letting a couple of days of the trial go by without this update, but I can explain. On Friday, I was told the forensic investigator was testifying, and I didn't want to hear all of that. His testimony had a profound effect on those who love Justin (J.B.), and I was told that it was good I wasn't there. But I returned to the courtroom on Monday afternoon and today to hear from one of the defendants, whom I'll call Ahmad, who made the decision to testify against the others as a prosecution witness.

For this decision he received nothing but scorn and ridicule from the defense attorneys who charged him with having a "secret deal" to lessen his charges. We've been assured by the lead detective, the prosecutor, an investigator with the state, and the witness himself--over and over on the stand--that he did not, in fact, have any kind of deal and had been told, explicitly, that he would not have a deal. He was testifying, he said, to "clear my conscience," recognizing that he is partly responsible for what happened and he has "the blood of Justin Brown" on his hands.

I don't know what the jury thought of his credibility, but we (the family and friends of Justin) believed him. We believed him even though he had previously lied to the police. We believed him even though he said he "never touched a gun" that night and had tried to convince the others that no gun was needed. But the defense attorneys (seven of them now!) hammered away at him, trying to shake him off his resolve. To no avail. He held up. He stuck to his story. And he NAMED THE SHOOTER!

(Yes, MB, we know you did it. You bragged about it. You told your "boys" you "hit that dude in the chest" and saw him crumple. You can sit in the courtroom and ACT LIKE you're innocent, but we now all know you did it!)

Yes, Ahmad agreed to do the robbery that led to this shooting. Yes, he suggested the target (a former classmate of his whom he said was an "easy mark"). And yes, he went up to the target's apartment with the intent to rob him. But he has done what the other three defendants who did not shoot the gun should have done--he admitted his role and told what happened--the truth.

If the jury believes his story, the case is decided. If they don't, I just don't know what to say about people.

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