Published on March 19th, 2013 | by Daniel R. Perlman0
Four men linked by witness testimony in cab driver’s slaying
In his opening statement, Nelson Alexander‘s defense attorney John Eagen said there is no DNA evidence linking his client to the slaying murder of a cab driver in Oct. 2011.
Alexander is one of four men facing first degree murder charges in connection to a robbery that left cab driver O’Bryan Lashan Brandy, 29, dead with two gun shot wounds to the head. Alexander is the first of the four to go to trial. The other defendants are Davin Bowers, 23, Deondre Handsford, 21, and Derrick Butler, 21.
This morning, prosecutor Lorena Vollrath-Bueno said Alexander, Bowers, Handsford and Butler can be linked to the shooting based on a key witness account and cell phone records.
That key witness was Gloria Casteneda, who was out for a walk the night of Oct. 29, 2011 at just before 1 p.m. She said she saw Handsford pacing on Idlewild Street. She approached him and Handsford told her he was waiting for a Yellow Cab. As Casteneda walked away, she said she heard two gunshots and 4 to 5 minutes later, heard one last gunshot.
She called 911 and Tallahassee police were called to the scene where they found Brandy slouched over in his cab, which was parked in the driveway at 1015 Idlwild Dive. Brandy was dead when police arrived.
Gary Connors was walking his dog when he heard the shots and saw a white truck drive away past his house.
That white truck was later found at 508 Laura Lee Lane, the residence of Whitney Hodges, the girlfriend of Derrick Butler, according to court documents.
Hodges said the four men came to her door that night. She said Handsford had blood on him and asked for a shower while Bowers had a 9mm Ruger, which he later admitted to hiding in Hodges’ backyard, according to court documents.
Sgt. Chris Corbitt of the Tallahassee Police Department was able to track the cell phone that called the cab to Hodges’ residence.
In the police report, all four suspects said they were involved in the robbery and three of them said Handsford pulled the trigger.
The state will continue its case when the trial resumes this afternoon.
Source: Tallahassee Democrat “Four men linked by witness testimony in cab driver’s slaying,” March 19, 2013.