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1399 1 month ago
1399 1 month ago
Body camera video released Tuesday shows a mother run toward the man accused of killing her son at New Year’s Eve party in 2018 after a judge dismissed murder, voluntary manslaughter and felonious assault charges due to lack of evidence.
Sheriff’s deputies tackled Brandie Johnson before she reached Tevin Biles-Thomas, and escorted her to the back of the courtroom, where she was placed in handcuffs and led out of the room.
The chaotic moment came after Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Joan Synenberg found prosecutors did not put forth enough evidence during the three-day trial tying Biles-Thomas to the killings of Johnson’s son, DelVaunte Johnson, Toshaun Banks and Biles-Thomas’ cousin, Devaughn Gibson, to let the jury decide his guilt or innocence.
Brandie Johnson was released without charges, a county spokesperson said.
Prosecutors accused Biles-Thomas, who is the brother of U.S. Olympic gymnast Simeon Biles, of opening fire on Johnson and Banks after they attacked Gibson shortly after arriving at the party. Johnson returned fire and killed Gibson before Biles-Thomas killed Johnson and Banks, prosecutors argued.
The case went to trial in May but ended with Synenberg declaring a mistrial during jury deliberations after someone mixed legal briefs in with the trial evidence submitted to the jury, and the jurors read them.
No physical evidence tied Biles-Thomas to the shooting.
The state’s key witness, who admitted to taking Johnson’s bloodied gun from the scene and throwing it in Lake Erie, did not show up to court to testify in the second trial. He identified Biles-Thomas as the shooter in the first trial as part of a plea deal that saw prosecutors reduce felony tampering with evidence charges to a misdemeanor charge for which he ultimately received 14 days of probation. Prosecutors also did not pursue a felony gun charge against him after he was arrested with a gun while he was free on bond in this case.
Prosecutors instead had to rely on the testimony of Jozette Brown, who said she did not see the shooter’s face and testified that she was only 75 percent sure that Biles-Thomas’ clothing in a surveillance video matched her description of the shooter.
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