Adam Braseel appeared before Judge Justin Angel at the Grundy County Courthouse today for a hearing he hopes will result in a new trial for his previous indictment of felony murder.
The District Attorney’s Office brought out the big guns with General Mike Taylor and assistant D.A. Steve Strain and assistant D.A. David Shinn present. Braseel was represented by Nashville attorney Alex Little and his team.
First on the stand for the defense was Robert Young, a private investigator hired by the defense. Little led him through his investigations as to a gold car reportedly seen at the crime scene and an identification of recently identified suspect (as per the defense) Kermit Bryson. No surprises during this testimony as Young only identified the make/model/etc. of Kermit Bryon’s girlfriend’s car – a gold Ford Escort – and made a photo ID of Bryson.
The following two witnesses called by the defense were friends of Bryson’s before he died. Cody Crisp, currently incarcerated at the Grundy County Jail, testified he had seen Bryson drive his girlfriend’s gold Ford Escort.
Bryson’s other former friend to take the stand was Elizabeth Rector. Rector, also currently incarcerated, stated she was friends with both Crisp and Bryson. She stated on the stand that Bryson told her while they were doing either “meth or pills” at Pryor Ridge, in 2006 or 2007, that he had killed Malcolm Burrows. On cross examination, Strain referenced Rector’s affidavit which conflicted with her statements on the stand. In her affidavit she stated Bryson told her he killed Burrows because he was paid to do it. However, on the stand, Rector said Kurt did not tell her the reason why. Rector further sidestepped the defense’s hope for her testimony when she was asked by Strain if Bryson, who did not have a driver’s license, ever drove. She appeared to start to say no, but then stated she would not let him drive her vehicle. This brings into question the defense’s claim that Bryson drove his girlfriend’s car the evening of Burrow’s murder.
Former GCSO Sergeant Mike Brown was next on the stand for the defense. Brown’s testimony will most likely prove crucial in Judge Angel’s decision to grant a new trial for Braseel. According to Brown, he found a wallet on the body of Burrows the night of the murder and this contradicts the original defense attorneys’ claim at the first trial of a motive of robbery. But, Brown also stated that he only looked at the ID in the wallet and did not check for money. So, theoretically, money could still have been stolen, but not noted by Brown.
Strain questioned Brown about dispatch reports from the evening of the murder which have some discrepancies with Brown’s testimony. Brown stated he had concerns over the discrepancies as well and at one point questioned whether the dispatch reports had been altered.
After Brown’s testimony, court was recessed and will be delayed until July 31. An expert witness for the defense was unable to be at court today and he/she will testify on July 31 as part of the defense’s case.
Click here to read the Herald’s report of the introduction of new evidence into the case.