Posted: 10/11/2005 2:43:56 PM EDT
Link to thread in TXHTF
Accused killer of police officer goes on trial
Check-cashing shop's clerk also slain in robbery
A man accused of killing a Houston police officer whose gun jammed as he tried to stop a robbery told his girlfriend that he was present during the crime, jurors were told Monday.
Alfred Dewayne Brown, 23, could receive a death sentence if convicted of capital murder in the April 3, 2003, slaying of officer Charles R. Clark. Prosecutors say he shot Clark in the head as the patrolman tried to stop a holdup at a southeast Houston check-cashing shop.
"This is a gruesome case," prosecutor Dan Rizzo told jurors as the trial began Monday. "Officer Clark was probably within two weeks of retirement. This is, no doubt, a tragedy."
He added that Brown's girlfriend will testify that he acknowledged being present when Clark and the shop's clerk were killed.
But Brown's attorney, Loretta Johnson, said that doesn't prove his guilt. She said Brown's acquaintances who will testify against him are trying to save themselves.
"At the end of the day ... you will no more know who killed whom," Johnson said, adding that the case against her client will be "wholly insufficient."
Second on trial
Brown is the second man to stand trial in the incident, which began with a holdup at an Ace America's Cash Express on Loop 610 South. Store clerk Alfredia Jones, 27, also was killed, just days after returning to work from maternity leave.
Elijah Dwayne Joubert, 26, was convicted last year of capital murder for Jones' slaying and sentenced to death. Dashan V. Glaspie, 23, has pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery in a deal limiting his sentence to 30 years if he testifies truthfully against his cohorts, prosecutors said.
The three men set out to rob another check-cashing store that morning, but changed plans when they realized the owner was armed, Rizzo said. They drove several miles to the store where Jones worked, he said, forcing her inside as she arrived.
Police were called after Jones used a secret code to alert her company to the robbery, Rizzo said. Clark, 45, arrived first and approached with no backup.
His last words on the police radio filled the courtroom Monday as prosecutors played radio transmissions to explain how the crime unfolded.
"Step it up. They've got guns," Clark told the dispatcher.
Clark was shot first, prosecutors said. They contend that Brown fired the two shots that hit him — one grazing the back of Clark's shoulder, the other a close-contact wound to his head.
Called for police
A crime-scene officer testified in Joubert's trial last year that Clark's pistol had jammed after he fired one shot. Jones begged for her life, but was shot in the head by Joubert, Rizzo said.
A wrecker driver called for help, and police found Clark and Jones clinging to life.
"She was trying to pull herself up and falling back down," officer Roland Baylous said.
Jurors viewed photographs showing the bloodshed and ballistics evidence.