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Shooter of 2012 murder found guilty

BY ABIGAIL MEIER | NOVEMBER 20, 2013 5:00 AM

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Friends and family of Donelle Lindsey removed their jackets between sobs as they revealed a white shirt with Lindsey’s image on the front, replicating an angel with a caption of “Rest in peace.” The verdict was in, and Brandon Brown had been found guilty of first-degree murder.

“Thank you, Johnson County, for justice,” shouted Vance Dillon, Lindsey’s stepfather, after the verdict was read. “Justice is all we asked for. It’ss over, it’s closure. I help raised him from a baby.” 

The mother of the 30-year-old victim wept loudly over the voice of the judge as Brown received his guilty charge — killing Lindsey near Mormon Trek and Melrose outside the apartment complex Petsel Place at approximately 11:30 p.m. on June 21, 2012. Brown then fled to Chicago after the murder; he was apprehended Aug. 21, 2012, and transported back to Johnson County. 

“Justice has been served and now [Donelle Lindsey] can rest, now my son can rest,” Donelle’s mother, Marvella Lindsey, said as tears ran down her face.  She looked down to clutch her shirt with her son’s image on it and repeated, “My son can rest.”

After nearly four hours of deliberations on Tuesday, the jury entered the Johnson County Courtroom with nearly 30 people awaiting the final fate of the 28-year-old man.  Once the guilty verdict was read, Brown, who did not testify, remained stoic as he was escorted immediately out of the courtroom. 

Throughout the trial, arguments from the defense attorneys, Brian Sissel and Sarah Hradek, noted there was a lack of physical evidence connecting Brown directly to Lindsey’s death. 

Sissel said three of the state’s witnesses — Byron Fisher, a friend of Brown’s; Nicole Blosser, an acquaintance of Brown’s; and DiMarco Harris, a friend of Lindsey’s, had inconsistencies with their testimonies. However, Fisher and Harris said they saw Brown gun down their friend only feet away from his body. 

“One thing that is constant with the state’s witnesses is that they lied to the police and misled the police and conveniently left out details,” Sissel said. 

Overall, assistant Johnson County prosecutor Dana Christiansen said this case seemed like a simple case, but for the jury, it was going to be tough for the jurors to take the evidence into consideration.

However, Christiansen said he believed the testimonies from many witnesses were the justification the jurors needed to make their decision. 

“I’m really happy this jury can accept testimony from witnesses and not demand high technology for this case,” he said.  “I’m really happy about today.” 

Even though a large majority of evidence depended on witness’ testimonies, Christiansen said he believed the overall trial went fairly smoothly. 

“Iowa City can and is fair to criminal defense,” he said.

Sentencing for Brown will be decided later this week.


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