Judge calls recess as questions surface about witness

Photos of Birdsong (Brandon Geier/WCIV)

ST. GEORGE, S.C. (WCIV) Stephawn Brown's attorney withdrew his motion for a mistrial late Wednesday afternoon, but the court is still in limbo as the judge considers what will happen next.

The state called a witness of whom Brown's attorney said he did not have knowledge. The witness is a State Law Enforcement Division{}official who examines gun shot residue. However, she's testifying in place of the woman who wrote the report being used in the trial. The state said the two employees perform similar job functions.

The solicitor said that woman is on extended leave and could not be brought in for trial.

Initially, Brown's attorney also said he was never given a copy of the residue report, which is why he called for a mistrial. He withdrew the request after he got the report and realized he was mistaken.

The judge dismissed the jury for the day without making a decision on the witness.

The second day of the murder trial involving a Domino's pizza delivery driver started out with a motion to suppress photos of the deceased.

Brown, 19, is charged with armed robbery and murder for the death of Maraleius Birdsong, 20. A second suspect, Jontae Davis, agreed to a plea deal Tuesday and then turned on his co-defendant. He said Brown told him he shot Birdsong because he wouldn't hand over a cell phone during an armed robbery.

Brown's attorney asked the judge to keep the state from admitting two photos, which he thought were disturbing.

"I don't think seeing the gunshot wound makes the reality of what happened any more real," said Brown's defense attorney.

The judge denied the defense's motion to keep the state from presenting photos of Birdsong's wounds. The judge said he believed the photos were the least offensive of the bunch, saying that he cautions the state against using offensive photos.

Other photos were also shown to the jury including images of Dominoes pizza boxes found in the woods, aluminum foil wrapping of wings and cinnamon sticks in a drawer at Brown's apartment as well as a handgun found there.

A crime scene technician also explained dipping sauces found in Brown's fridge had the same expiration dates as those Birdsong took out, as noted by Dominoes.

The technician also testified about DNA evidence taken from the pizza boxes and gun, identifying Brown as the suspect he took DNA samples from.

The trial will continue Thursday.{}