First-degree murder trial now underway


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An area man testified at the murder trial of Brandon Brown Thursday, saying he recalled “four shots; they were rapid, and they were back to back.”

With a bright red sweater and quiet demeanor, 32-year-old Byron Fisher testified he was with Brown and Donelle Lindsey the night Lindsey was shot on June 21, 2012.

Brown has pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting. According to a police report, Brown allegedly shot 30-year-old Lindsey around 11:30 p.m. near Mormon Trek and Melrose Boulevad after an argument between the two men.

Linn County public defenders Brian Sissel and Sarah Hradek, who are representing Brown, kept the jury attentive as they described numerous testimonies from witnesses that were inconsistent.

Hradek began by describing Johnson County assistant prosecutor Dana Christiansen’s opening statement as “not having all the pieces to the puzzle.”

After two and a half days of jury selection, Fisher was the first and only witness called to the stand.

The Cedar Rapids native said he was present at the scene of the shooting at Petsel Place, near the intersection of Mormon Trek Boulevard and Melrose Avenue.

Fisher testified that on June 21, 2012, after he and Brown shared a bottle of vodka, they began walking home. Fisher said on their way back to their homes they encountered Lindsey and a another man, DiMarco Harris.

Fisher described the confrontation between Brown and Lindsey as having “a little hostility between both of them.” After the argument, Fisher said Brown then left the area, and about five minutes later Brown returned armed with a handgun. After Brown said a few words to Lindsey, Fisher said Lindsey did not respond, and Brown allegedly shot him around 11:30 p.m.

“Donelle didn’t respond, so that’s when [Brandon] shot him,” Fisher said. “He just pointed the gun at him and shot him.”

With sharp questioning from Sissel about the actions following the shooting, Fisher said he returned home immediately after and did not call 911 because he did not have a working phone. However, the defense showed a video of Fisher talking on a cell phone during a police interview the following morning.

As questioning continued, Sissel pointed out numerous inconsistences in Fisher’s testimony — regarding Brown’s attire, whether Fisher could confirm Brown was holding a gun, and exactly how far away Fisher was standing from Brown during the shooting.

A police report said Brown allegedly shot Lindsey numerous times in the chest at a close range and then fled the scene. Later that night, Lindsey was pronounced dead at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Two months later, Brown was arrested on Aug. 21, 2012, at a friend’s house in South Holland, Ill.
Christiansen hopes to present three new witnesses to the jury today, including Harris.

Judge Marsha Bergan ended the day confirming witnesses will continue today at 9 a.m. If convicted, Brown would face mandatory life in prison.

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