Murder defendants want separate trials - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Murder defendants want separate trials

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October 24, 2006

Albany -- Lawyers for Temyrance Johnson and Nevarro Brinson-- two Albany Marine Reservists charged with murder-- tell a Judge they still are not sure they have all the evidence police gathered.  

The murder trial is scheduled to start in two weeks, but the defendants want separate trials, and their lawyers told a Judge they worry that Dougherty County prosecutors are holding back evidence against their clients.  

Twenty-two-year old Nevarro Brinson and 20-year-old Temyrance Johnson are charged with gunning down 18-year-old Demarcus Waddell outside the Pizza Hut where he worked November 27th last year.

 Investigators say Waddell and Johnson were dating the same girl, so Brinson and Johnson ambushed and killed him.

Brinson and Johnson are to be tried November sixth, but Brinson attorney Joseph Weathers told Judge Stephen Goss in a pre-trial hearing that some parts of the video and audio tapes copies of police interviews with his client are blank.  "It's nothing. It's dead. Totally no sound. Which is an indication there has not been a copy made on that side," Attorney Joseph Weathers said.

Weathers and Brinson's lawyers told the Judge they could not be sure prosecutors had given them all the evidence needed to prepare a defense. "Your Honor, we only know what the state is able to tell us. If the state has information, if they have conducted interviews that we don't know about," Weathers said.

So Judge Goss had prosecutors go through their boxes of evidence piece by piece, to show they were not holding anything back. "These are shell casings and bullets recovered from the autopsy. More unspent rounds," Chief Assistant District Attorney Greg Edwards said.

Judge Goss arranged for defense lawyers to hear all the tapes prosecutors had today. "We have given them everything. Everything they are entitled to under the law, and more," Edwards said.

Brinson and Johnson's lawyers have petitioned for separate trials, and Judge Goss said he would issue a ruling Wednesday. Edwards says the state thinks the two need to face the same jury.  "We think for the sake of judicial economy, this is the appropriate thing to do."

Judge Goss told Prosecutors and Defense Attorney's he wanted all evidence on the table Tuesday, and would not tolerate any surprises when the murder trial starts in two weeks.  

Brinson's lawyer asked again that Brinson be released on bond to help in his defense, but Judge Goss refused.

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