911 dispatcher, WMC reporter, first responder testified in Maurice Brown Sr. trial

UNCUT: Father of missing 3-year-old talks
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC) – A WMC Action News 5 interview played a key role in the second day of testimony in the Maurice Brown Sr. murder trial.

Before the jury heard a possible contradiction caught by one of our news crews, prosecutors kicked off the second day of testimony with a 911 operator on the stand.

Brown is accused of murdering his 3-year-old son, Maurice Brown Jr. He pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder.

His son was reported missing on July 1, 2012. After a two-day search, the little boy's body was found in a dumpster.

Cassandra Berry, the 911 dispatcher who took Brown's call, took the stand around 11 a.m.

The 911 tape was played for the jury. Brown told Berry that he went to sleep and woke up to find his son missing. As Berry asked Brown questions about his son's appearance, Brown began crying. The call lasted about four minutes.

Next, the state called MPD officer Jodi Ledford to the stand. She was the first officer to respond to Brown's apartment.

Ledford said Brown mentioned that his son had wet his pants. He said he changed him, put him to bed, and told the boy he would get a spanking when he woke up.

"At some point, every officer we had in the area was looking for the child," said Ledford, who also noted a cut on Maurice Brown Sr.'s hand and a tear in his work pants.

Brown told Ledford he didn't call police until after searching outside for his son. When interviewing neighbors, Ledford said one of the neighbors reported hearing a commotion in Brown's apartment around 8 p.m. that night.

Next to testify was the assistant manager at the Wendy's where Brown worked back in July 2012. Lilly Wright told the court she sent Brown home early.

"Because I felt like he wasn't doing anything," she said. "Well, he wasn't doing his job the way he was supposed to."

When he left, he did not have a cut on his hand. Wright said anyone who gets hurt at work is supposed to alert a manager. She also did not notice a tear in his pants.

Memphis Police Department Sergeant Alpha Hinds took the stand next. The six-page statement Hinds got from Brown the night the little boy went missing was read out loud to the jury.

Suddenly after beginning to read the statement, the judge ordered the jury out of the room and collected their copies of the document. The statement included four questions about Maurice Brown Sr.'s gang affiliation, which was ruled to be excluded from evidence or testimony.

The judge ordered a recess as the gang affiliation information was redacted from the statement.

To read the full statement, click here: http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wmctv/brownstatement-final.pdf 

WMC Action News 5's Amy Speropoulos was called to the stand following the recess.

Speropoulos was on the scene the morning of July 2, 2012 when Brown interviewed with local media about his son's disappearance.

The interview Speropoulos obtained was subpoenaed by the court to be played during the trial. As the interview played in court, WMC Action News 5 photographer Sheila Whaley can be heard asking Brown how he got the cut on his finger. He replied that he got hurt at work while taking out the garbage.

During the interview with Speropoulos, Maurice Brown Sr. referred to his son in the past tense multiple times.

"That was my man that was my soul I love him to death. He was a happy kid," he said.


Statement given to police by Maurice Brown Sr.: http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wmctv/brownstatement-final.pdf

To review what happened on Day 1 of the trial, click here: http://www.wmcactionnews5.com/story/26140113/maurice-brown-srs-murder-trial-to-begin-tuesday.

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