Pizza delivery murder case sent to grand jury

Stephawn Brown enters court for his preliminary hearing in the shooting death of Maraleius Birdsong. (Brad Nettles/postandcourier.com) 4/16/12

A North Charleston municipal court judge today ruled that enough evidence exits to send the case against a man accused of killing a Domino’s pizza delivery driver to a grand jury.

The preliminary hearing for 19-year-old Stephawn Brown also revealed some new details from the March 9 attack on 20-year-old Maraleius Birdsong. Someone shot Birdsong as he left Appian Way apartments in North Charleston after trying to deliver an apparently bogus order of chicken wings and cinnamon sticks.

North Charleston police Detective Candy Johnson said in court that a codefendant in the case, Jontae Davis, heard Brown say he was “going to get that boy” before the shooting.

Monday’s hearing included the first public release of details about the drug charges against Brown. Johnson said detectives found Brown lying down inside his mother’s SUV, covered in a blanket. When authorities called to him, he didn’t respond, she said. They pulled him out of the car and found 11.5 grams of marijuana beneath him and another 7.9 grams in small plastic bags, Johnson said.

Police arrested Brown on charges of murder, armed robbery, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana within a half-mile of a school. Fort Dorchester High School is just across the street from Appian Way apartments.

Brown’s defense attorney, Mark Leiendecker, pointed out that detectives found a .40-caliber handgun in Birdsong’s car. The attorney questioned Johnson about marijuana mentioned in one report, but the detective said investigators found no drugs in Birdsong’s car.

Authorities have described Birdsong as a random victim and a stranger to Brown and to Davis, the other man accused in the case. Read more in Tuesday’s editions of The Post and Courier.