Victim IDs defendants in Robert "Brikk" Brown shooting trial

Victim IDs defendants in Robert "Brikk" Brown shooting trial

May 16th, 2012 by Todd South in News

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 /Times Free Press.

The trial of two men charged in the 2009 home invasion shooting death of local rapper Robert "Brikk" Brown begins its second day this morning.

A victim in the shooting identified the co-defendants in the courtroom late Tuesday.

Prosecutor Brian Finlay had Josquin Jackson recount the events that led to Brown's death and his own shooting injuries during the robbery.

While holding a printout of mugshots, commonly called a photo lineup, Finlay asked Jackson about the men involved in the shooting.

"That's the man who had a gun in your face?" Finlay asked.

"Yes," Jackson replied.

"Took your watch?" Finlay asked.

"That's correct," Jackson said.

"Shot you in the head?" Finlay asked.

"Yes," Jackson said.

He then pointed to Dexter L. Talley Jr., 31, and Alonzo "Butch" Grace, 43.

The two are charged with especially aggravated robbery, attempted murder and first-degree murder in Brown's March 28, 2009, slaying.

Jackson said that during the robbery he struggled with Grace as the man tried to tie his wrists and ankles.

In testimony Tuesday, Jackson said that while he struggled with Grace, Grace fired his handgun, the bullet grazing the side of Jackson's head.

As they continued the struggle, Jackson said another, larger man walked up and shot him in the mouth. The bullet still is lodged in his neck.

After that wound, Jackson played dead. Another shooter walked up and shot him in the arm.

The armed men took cash and jewelry and left the house.

Jackson testified that Talley had left the house where the robbery occurred for about five minutes and called on a different phone saying he had left a cellphone at the house.

Brown answered the door as Jackson looked for the phone. Jackson heard a pop and turned to see Brown shaking his hand and Talley re-entering the home with five armed men in tow.

Brown was shot in the chest after he said, "I ain't going out like this" when one of the men told the pair that "you guys are gonna die tonight," Jackson testified.

Talley's attorney, David Barrow, challenged Jackson's original statement to police that it was Talley who shot Jackson in the head, mouth, arm and hand.

A third co-defendant, 23-year-old Julian Maurice Smith Jr., faces a separate trial on June 18.

Smith has been free on bond since December and was in the courtroom audience throughout the trial Tuesday.

It took attorneys three hours to select a jury of five white men, four white women, three black men and two black women.

Defendants Talley and Grace as well as victims Brown and Jackson are black.

Jackson managed Brown's rap duo called Piney Woods, a nod to the neighborhood of Brown's youth, which lies between the Alton Park and St. Elmo neighborhoods near Central Avenue.

Jackson, Brown and Brown's rap partner, Travis Moore, were on a radio tour to promote the duo's new songs. They'd traveled from California to Chattanooga, making stops in Denver, Las Vegas and Atlanta. The three men were scheduled to leave for New York City on the day of the shooting but stayed because Moore wanted to attend a birthday party here.

Grace's defense attorney, Ben McGowan, hinted at a possible motive for the crime when he asked jurors during selection if they would hold anything against either a defendant or victim if it was revealed they were involved in drug use or sales.

Prosecutor Neal Pinkston told the jury in his opening statement that Talley had visited the home of Harold Calloway, where Brown and a friend were playing cards and getting haircuts, both the day before and a short time before the home invasion and robbery.

Police found Brown's body face down in a house plant at Apartment B at 3929 Webb Oaks Court.

Brown used the stage name "Brikk" and had worked alongside nationally known hip-hop performers such as OutKast, 8Ball & MJG and New Beginnings, which featured Chattanooga native Usher Raymond.

Before his death, Brown and his rap partner had signed a music contract with Black Ice Records of Richmond, Calif., a subsidiary of Universal Music Group.