Jury won't know defendants' criminal histories in Chattanooga rapper murder trial

Jury won't know defendants' criminal histories in Chattanooga rapper murder trial

May 17th, 2012 by Todd South in Local - Breaking News

Jurors deliberating a verdict in the murder trial of two Chattanooga men charged in the 2009 home invasion shooting death of local rapper Robert "Brikk" Brown will not know that both men pleaded guilty to similar charges in separate cases years ago.

Dexter L.Talley Jr., 31, and Alonzo "Butch" Grace, 43, were identified by an eyewitness and alleged victim as two of as many as six men who were involved in the killing of Brown, 33.

Grace pleaded guilty in 1993 to one count each of attempted first-degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, aggravated robbery and robbery.

He was sentenced to 15 years, to serve 30 percent, or 5 years, due to his then-criminal history.

Talley pleaded guilty in 2002 to a charge of aggravated assault, which had originally been lodged as an aggravated robbery. He was sentenced to probation.

Multiple counts against Grace were dismissed in exchange for the plea.

Details of the crimes were not immediately available.

It's rare in criminal cases that juries will learn of a defendant's criminal history. In an effort to protect constitutional rights to a fair trial most information not directly related to the criminal charge at hand is excluded to prevent jurors from being prejudiced against the defendant in their deliberations.