published Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Chattanooga rapper murder trial going to jury

  • photo
    Josquin Jackson testifies in Judge Rebecca Stern's courtroom in the case of the shooting death of rapper Robert "Brikk" Brown. Jackson was also shot but survived. Dexter Talley Jr. and Alonzo "Butch" Grace have been charged in the 2009 killing.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

During closing arguments Wednesday, attorneys on both sides of a murder trial in the death of a local rapper pointed to one eyewitness.

The witness, Josquin Jackson, 45, who also was shot in the March 28, 2009, attack, identified Dexter L. Talley, Jr., 31, and Alonzo "Butch" Grace, 43, as two of as many as six men involved in the killing of local rapper Robert "Brikk" Brown, 33.

Grace and Talley are charged with especially aggravated robbery, attempted murder and first-degree murder in the slaying at 3929B Webb Oaks Court.

Jackson testified Tuesday that Grace was with Talley and four other men who entered the residence, attempted to bind him and Brown with duct tape.

Jackson said Grace shot him once and another, unidentified, man shot Brown in the chest and then shot Jackson in the face.

But Grace testified Wednesday that on the day of the incident he and Talley had been at retired NFL player and Chattanooga native Terdell Sands' house for a barbecue.

Talley is Grace's nephew and Sands' second cousin.

Grace said Talley got drunk, so he took him home after smoking some marijuana. Grace said he went on to a crack house, then to the apartment where Brown was staying to buy more cocaine. He said two masked men rushed into the apartment and shot him, Brown and Jackson.

Early Wednesday, defense attorneys grilled the lead investigator, Chattanooga police Detective Karl Fields.

Ben McGowan, Grace's attorney, asked why Fields didn't pursue tips from an informant in the local Gangster Disciples gang who told police that two "high-level" members had orchestrated the robbery-killing.

"He identified these two people by name, and I should point out for clarity that it's neither of these two men," McGowan said, pointing at Talley and Grace.

Fields agreed but said he questioned information provided secondhand.

Fields said he shared the information with an FBI agent, who flew to California and showed photos of the gang members to Jackson. Jackson could not identify the people in those photos, Fields testified.

about Todd South...

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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