Chattanooga police work questioned in Jamaul Herman murder trial

Chattanooga police work questioned in Jamaul Herman murder trial

February 3rd, 2012 by Todd South in News

Jamaul Herman enters a plea of not guilty Tuesday in Judge Rebecca Stern's courtroom. Herman is charged with murder in the 2010 shooting death of Jerome Timmons.

Jamaul Herman enters a plea of not guilty...

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

The defense attorney for Jamaul Herman jabbed at points in the murder investigation against her client Thursday, trying to create uncertainty in jurors' minds.

Herman, 29, is accused of shooting Jerome Timmons on July 4, 2010, outside the Palace nightclub on Glass Street.

During the first day of trial Tuesday, defense attorney Mary Sullivan Moore said in her opening statement that police did not question an estimated 80 people at the scene of the shooting.

On Thursday, Moore questioned Chattanooga police Detective Karl Fields' credibility by asking about an internal affairs investigation in which he admitted lying to cover up a drunken-driving accident while off duty sometime before 2007.

On the witness stand, Fields admitted he'd first lied, then told his superiors the truth.

When Moore asked about questioning the crowd, Fields said he interviewed two female witnesses who'd called police as the gunman fled. Moore criticized the loss of audio recordings of those interviews somewhere between Fields and the evidence collection officer.

Fields said he dropped them off; the evidence officer said he never saw the tapes.

Those two female witnesses, who testified Tuesday and Wednesday, and a man who testified Thursday said Herman pulled a handgun from his pants, chased Timmons across Glass Street and shot him once in the head before running off.

Moore called Tamika Stokes, a combative and reluctant defense witness, to testify that she saw as many as 10 men beat Herman with baseball bats and brass knuckles and heard Timmons say he was going to hit someone just before the shooting.

"I don't know if he got hit with a stick, with a bat, I just know he got beat up real bad," Stokes testified.

When police caught Herman after a car and foot chase, he had a broken jaw and was taken to a hospital.

Hamilton County Assistant District Attorneys Charlie Minor and Bret Alexander called Eugene Orr, their third eyewitness, Thursday.

Moore, who'd previously characterized the crime scene as "pitch-black," asked Orr about the lighting.

"Listen, ma'am, there's a lot of streetlights out there and them streetlights work," he answered.

Orr testified that, after fights flared up, he jumped in his car, drove into the Palace parking lot and circled quickly to enter the club. When he looked to his left, Orr testified, he saw Herman step under a streetlight, draw the handgun and fire, striking Timmons as he ran away.

Herman then ran to his car and fled as Orr drove across the street and rushed to his friend, he said.

"He was laying on his side," Orr testified. "I rolled him over and started talking to him."

The trial resumes this morning in Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern's courtroom.