Police say witness beaten by murder suspect's brother

Jerome Brantley
Jerome Brantley

(WMC-TV) - Police say a key witness in a murder case was beaten by the defendant's bother in retaliation for telling his story in court.

Fredrick Black, 18, joined his older brother Eric Black in jail Tuesday after he was arrested for assaulting a witness who helped put Eric Black in jail last summer.

Eric Black was arrested after the murder of Jerome Brantley, who was among the Booker T. Washington High School graduates who greeted President Barack Obama months earlier.

The key witness is a cousin who was with Brantley at the apartments where he was shot and killed.

"My brother died in his arms, so he was there and knew everything," said the victim's sister Cathy Brantley.

Cathy Brantley said she is proud of her cousin, whose name Action News 5 agreed not to release, for testifying against his brother's accused killer.

Police said Fredrick Black and two friends kicked and stomped the witness last week near the corner of Trigg Avenue and Neptune after telling him they saw him in court.

Despite the intimidation, the cousin said he will not stop testifying.

"'Cause my brother, even though it was his cousin, he was like a brother to him, too," said Cathy Brantley.

The witness' family said this is not the first time he has been retaliated against and they wish police could do more to protect him.

In an e-mail, a department spokesperson said witness intimidation is taken very seriously by police, and that, "we don't want them to be deterred with threats or violence."

Cathy Brantley said her cousin will not be deterred until justice for her brother is served.

"He's still not going to stop testifying," she said.

Retaliation suspect Fredrick Black has already bonded out of jail.  Eric Black, whose bond is $1 million, is due back in court in relation to murder charges later this week.

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