Saturday, October 29, 2011

Corey Brooks

Prosecutor Donna Elder has one mission over the next few days: to prove Keion Griffin fired the bullet that killed CCU student Corey Brooks in May 2008.

During the first day of testimony, Elder called several witnesses to describe how a scuffle between two groups of young men led to the shooting. The picture painted was one that seems senseless. A fight over a parking spot. Teenagers with a gun. A 20-year-old dead.

Elder established for the court what led up to the events, and the witnesses kept getting back to the one central impetus: a parking spot.

According to the prosecution and its witnesses, Corey Brooks was staying with friends that Memorial Day weekend at the home of Josh Hughes on 3rd Avenue North.

Brooks and his buddies were down for a few days to grill out, hang out and drink, one of his friends said.

On the night of May 25, the group of young men, mostly college students, headed to the boulevard for a night out on the town. They returned sometime after midnight to find a group of women in a car parked in the yard of that home. They wanted to park there. Brooks' friends told them no.

Prosecutors allege that's when another group walked up which included 19-year-old Keion Griffin, 19-year-old Demario Stukes, and a 16-year-old juvenile.

Griffin and Stukes, prosecutors and witnesses said, pressed the issue about the parking spot. A scuffle broke out. Voices rose. Corey Brooks, the story goes, came down from the home's porch to break up the fight.

The witnesses told the court that one of the young men struck Brooks on his head with a gun. The juvenile, who pleaded guilty to being a minor in possession of a pistol, took the stand Monday and turned state's witness.

The juvenile testified he brought a gun from his mother's house that night "just to bring it." He said he gave it to Stukes.

According to his testimony, Stukes must have given the gun to Griffin sometime later because it was Griffin, the juvenile claimed, that hit Brooks with the pistol. But Griffin didn't stop there, the juvenile said. Once Brooks was on the ground, according to the juvenile, Griffin shot Brooks once in the back.

The juvenile said all three teenagers ran from the scene, and that he took the gun and put it back under his mother's bed. But the juvenile said he worried. He said it was a "dirty gun" and that he needed to dispose of it. He said he threw it in a trash can a couple of days later.

Five days after Brooks died, all three men were in custody. Griffin and Stukes were charged with murder. The juvenile was not charged in connection to the murder.

Griffin's defense attorney, James Galmore, wondered why the juvenile wasn't charged when it was, in fact, the juvenile who brought the gun that night. Galmore claimed the juvenile made "a deal" with police and prosecutors. Galmore said the juvenile agreed to give up evidence in return for leniency. Therefore, Galmore said, the juvenile has motive to say what prosecutors want him to say.

Prosecutors countered that the juvenile told police Griffin was the shooter five days before the any deal was made and before the juvenile told them where the alleged murder weapon could be found.

After the juvenile wrapped up his testimony, the jury was released for the day while the court took care of some housekeeping measures.

Testimony is scheduled to resume at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday.

No trial date has yet been set for Demario Stukes.


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