The victim's dying words were the focus of the prosecutor's opening statement and first witness Tuesday in the murder trial of a 37-year-old Chattanooga man.
"Foo got me," Assistant District Attorney Brian Finlay told the jury. "'Foo' is the nickname of the defendant, Mr. [Walter] Glenn."
The victim, Carlton Braswell, "said those words, collapsed on the floor and died in a pool of his own blood," Finlay said.
Police arrested Glenn in February 2010 as he was hiding in the crawlspace of a house in Nashville. He was charged with first-degree murder in the Dec. 20, 2009, stabbing death of 17-year-old Braswell.
According to court documents, Glenn stabbed Braswell after an argument over cigarettes.
In front of Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern, Finlay described the unfolding events in his opening statement.
Braswell left his 1819 Southern St. apartment with friend Damion Dillion about 11 a.m. on Dec. 20, 2009. The pair walked to the next building to talk with a friend, then to the next building to buy cigarettes from a man known only as "banana man," Finlay said.
As they walked, Finlay said, they crossed paths with Glenn, who was smoking a cigarette. Braswell asked for a puff, Glenn refused. Braswell and Glenn argued, cursed at each other, then parted, Finlay said.
Dillion later testified that he saw the argument but was leaving for his car and didn't know if it would end in a fight. As Braswell returned from getting cigarettes, Glenn was waiting and stabbed him in the throat, Finlay told the jury. Braswell bled down the sidewalk as he rushed back to his home, where he died.
The first witness called Tuesday was both the half sister of the victim and the daughter of the defendant. She also was the last person to see Braswell alive.
Raven Glenn, 17, testified that she came into the living room of her home in the 1900 block of Southern Street when she heard Braswell come inside. He was bleeding from a stab wound to his neck, just above the left collarbone, she said.
"He said, 'Foo got me,'" she testified.
"I said, 'My daddy?'" she testified. "Then he just fell."
"Is there any doubt in your mind about what he said, Raven?" fellow prosecutor Matthew Rogers asked.
"No, sir," she replied.
Walter Glenn's attorney, Ben McGowan, told the jury that Braswell had a temper and a lifestyle that predicted his demise.
"Carlton Braswell is dead and Carlton Braswell was 17," he said. "Those two issues combined make for a very sad fact. It is a fact that no one should have found surprising."
He went on to describe how Braswell left home "pumped up" and, when he encountered Glenn, antagonized him by cursing and pushing even after Glenn refused to give Braswell a puff off his cigarette.
McGowan also emphasized to the jury that neither Dillion nor another witness who saw Braswell before his death actually saw Walter Glenn stab Braswell.
The trial resumes this morning. Finlay and Rogers told Stern that they expected to finish their case today.
Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...
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