published Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Slain Chattanooga rapper's family seeks new trial

The parents of a local rapper killed in a 2009 home invasion said they want a new trial after a hung jury resulted in a mistrial Friday.

Teresa Brown, mother of the slain Robert "Brikk" Brown, wept when Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern declared a mistrial when the jury could not reach a verdict after two days' deliberation.

"For three years my heart has been hurting," Teresa Brown said outside the courtroom. "I realize they had to make a choice, but if the jury knew all the things that [the defendants] did they would have found them guilty."

The slain man's father, Robert Brown, told reporters he felt the jurors didn't look at the evidence as they should have, but he wasn't surprised by the mistrial.

"We do hope it goes to trial again. We're tired. It's been a long week," he said.

Dexter L. Talley Jr., 31, and Alonzo "Butch" Grace, 43, faced charges of especially aggravated robbery, attempted murder and first-degree murder in the home invasion shooting death of 33-year-old Brown.

Key testimony came from Josquin Jackson, 45, Brown's music partner and an alleged victim in the incident.

Jackson testified that on March 28, 2009, he, Brown and Talley were in the 3929B Webb Oaks Court apartment of Harold Calloway listening to some of Brown's new hip-hop recordings.

He said Talley left the apartment and called a few minutes later, saying he'd forgotten his cellphone. As Jackson looked for the phone, Brown answered the door and Talley, Grace and four other men rushed into the home with guns.

Jackson said the invaders tried to bind him and Brown with duct tape as they struggled. Brown was shot in the chest, and Jackson was shot in the face, head and arm.

Grace also took the stand but told a different story. He said Talley was not at the apartment that night. Grace said he went there to buy crack cocaine and was talking with Brown when two men rushed in and shot him, Brown and Jackson.

Police did not find drugs at the apartment.

Brown was in town promoting his new album on Jackson's California-based Black Ice Records label.

Prosecutors Neal Pinkston and Brian Finlay and defense attorneys Ben McGowan and David Barrow declined to comment on the case Friday.

The next scheduled court date to determine either a plea agreement or new trial date is June 12.

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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