ST. GEORGE — Testimony is expected to continue this morning in the case against the teenager accused of killing a pizza deliveryman almost a year ago.
Stephawn Brown, 19, is charged with murder and armed robbery in the March 9 killing of 20-year-old Maraleius Birdsong, who was shot in the head outside the Appian Way Apartments in North Charleston.
Witness testimony was stalled for about an hour Wednesday when Brown’s attorney, Mark Leiendecker, a public defender, requested that the judge rule the case a mistrial.
Leiendecker said the prosecutions’ case has several issues. The State Law Enforcement Division employee that was sworn in to testify about a report, involving gunshot residue, was not the analyst who conducted the test, according to prosecutors.
He also argued that he has the right to cross-examine the author of the report. Prosecutors told the judge the SLED analyst was unavailable to testify due to medical reasons.
Leiendecker asked for a mistrial based on “several issues” that included a claim that he hadn’t seen the SLED report or been provided a copy. He argued that prosecutors should have waited longer to try the case.
“We had no desire to rush this case to trial. They could have put this off to another term of court,” he said.
Leiendecker later withdrew his request for a mistrial after realizing he had seen the SLED report, but said that despite the clarification, there are still several issues that need to be addressed before they move on.
Circuit Judge Ed Dickson dismissed the jury for the day and asked the SLED employee to return this morning.
On Tuesday, Brown’s co-defendant, Jontae Davis, 18, who also had been charged with murder and was to be tried with Brown, accepted a plea deal. Davis pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and armed robbery and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He testified against Brown on Tuesday.
The pair is accused of ordering food from the Domino’s Pizza store in Coosaw Creek and waiting for the deliveryman in the parking lot to rob him, according to investigators. Brown is accused of shooting and killing Birdsong.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.
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