Suspected gang member Jermell Brandon testified on Friday that Tyrone Brown, 21, was the gunman in a murder at the Towson Town Center just before Christmas 2011.
Brandon, as part of a plea deal that will give him the possibility of parole after serving 20 years, testified in Baltimore County Circuit Court that Brown gunned down Rodney Pridget, 19, at the mall to avenge the robbery and shooting of a cousin of a Black Guerilla Family member.
Brandon, 36, told the jury he saw Brown follow Pridget out of the mall, and was told by his associates that Brown shot Pridget. He also admitted to illegally purchasing the chrome plated 9-millimeter handgun used in the crime.
Brandon has already testified against Theodore Williams, and William Ward III. Both of those men were sentenced to life in prison in October for their roles in the hit. Pridget allegedly shot and robbed a man named Dustin Smith, a cousin of Theodore Williams.
He said the men identified Pridget as the gunman in the earlier shooting using Facebook. Once they identified Pridget, Brandon said everyone knew what was expected if they spotted him.
"Everybody knew when we seen him we were going to kill him," Brandon said.
Brandon said he was Christmas shopping at the Towson Town Center on Dec. 19 when he spotted Pridget at the Downtown Locker Room. He then called his associates and alerted them to Pridget’s presence at the mall.
Williams and Ward eventually joined Brandon at the mall and they followed Pridget. He said that they later saw Brown coming down an escalator and that he was following Pridget out of the mall. He also said that he gave Brown a warning just before the shooting.
"Don’t do something stupid under the cameras," Brandon said he told Brown.
Brandon, Williams, Ward and Brown are all believed to be part of a "regime" of a gang called the Black Guerilla Family based in the Greenmount Avenue corridor in North Baltimore.
Lawrence Rosenberg, Brown’s attorney, questioned the validity of Brandon’s testimony, pointing out several discrepancies between what Brandon said on the stand and what he earlier told Baltimore County police. Brandon at times couldn’t keep straight which people were at what meetings. He also told Rosenberg, who was reading comments Brandon made earlier to police, that he couldn’t remember saying some of those things.
Brandon also denied on the stand that he was a member of a gang. But Det. Chris Hodniciki, of the county’s gang enforcement team, testified during cross-examination they believe Brandon was a gang member.
Rosenberg also sought to play down the gang aspect and painted the incident as the outcome of a neighborhood dispute, and not an act of organized crime.
The Black Guerilla Family, and its feud with the rival Bloods, are believed to be the culprit in a spike in shootings and homicides in Baltimore City's Northern District.
"We suspect that there’s some involvement from BGF [Black Guerrilla Family] and the Bloods, but [I’m not] being any more specific than that right now. We’re just really keeping an eye on these players," Northern District Commander Maj. Sabrina Tapp-Harper told Patch last year.
The trial is schedule to resume at 9:30 a.m. Monday in Baltimore County Circuti Court.