published Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Third man freed in killing of rapper Robert "Brikk" Brown

The mother of a local rapper killed in a 2009 home invasion robbery saw charges dismissed Friday against the third and final man accused in her son's slaying.

Teresa Brown, mother of Robert "Brikk" Brown, said Friday she was disappointed that there would not be a trial for Julian Smith, one of three men accused in the crime.

"Other people knew he was there. They need to come forward," she said.

But two credible witnesses for Smith this week gave prosecutors evidence that Smith, 25, was at a different location the night Brown, 33, died on March 28, 2009.

Prosecutor Brian Finlay said there was no physical evidence against Smith, only the testimony of an eyewitness and victim. And the testimony did not allege that Smith used a weapon, only that he was part of the home invasion.

Even so, if he'd been found guilty, Smith would have faced similar consequences to his co-defendants because the killing was committed in the act of a felony robbery.

Friday morning prosecutors dropped charges of aggravated assault, especially aggravated robbery and felony murder against Smith.

Smith's attorney, Dan Ripper, credited prosecutorial discretion on the part of the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office. Ripper said his client, who was free on bond after serving 18 months awaiting trial, was delighted and appreciative of the decision.

The two other men charged in the case, Alonzo "Butch" Grace, 44, and Dexter Talley, 32, were tried in May 2012. Brown's friend Josquin Jackson testified that he, Brown and Talley were in Harold Calloway's apartment at 3929B Webb Oaks Court listening to music when Talley left.

A few minutes later, four men rushed into the apartment. They shot Brown in the chest and Jackson in the face, head and arm.

Grace testified he was at the apartment to buy crack cocaine from Brown when the men rushed in and that Talley wasn't present.

Police did not find drugs at the apartment.

The trial ended with a hung jury. In a plea deal later, Grace pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and accepted a 15-year sentence. Talley pleaded guilty to robbery charge and a four-year sentence. All other charges against both men were dismissed as part of their pleas.

Contact staff writer Todd South at tsouth@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @tsouthCTFP.

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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