Man who tried to help shooting victim testifies

CHESTER -- A man went to the aid of Charlie Ray Brown Jr. after he was shot outside a Great Falls bar and grill in 2003, a witness testified Friday during Shawn Dewayne Wilson's murder trial.

The victim known as "Juicy" was breathing when Samuel Tucker reached him.

"I had a shirt on," said Tucker, who was hanging out with a friend at The Talk of the Town bar and grill. "I took it off and put it over the wound."

Tucker applied pressure to the wound. He left the 24-year-old Brown's side when paramedics arrived, he said.

Friday marked the third day jurors heard testimony about the shooting that left Brown dead, injured another man and sparked fights in the parking lot and highway near The Talk of the Town on Chester Highway.

Police say Wilson, now 28, shot Brown in the stomach outside The Talk of the Town on June 28, 2003. An arrest warrant notes Wilson "did shoot numerous times into a crowd of people with reckless disregard."

Brown died at Chester Regional Medical Center. During an autopsy, two bullets were recovered from his body, said Inas Yacoub, formerly the coroner in Newberry County, where the autopsy was done.

Cause of death was a bullet wound to Brown's abdomen, she testified.

"It appeared that it (the bullet) hit something before entering the abdomen," said Yacoub, who noted toxicology results showed alcohol and cocaine in Brown's body.

"It's my opinion that this is a death at the hands of another," she said.

Also wounded in the incident was Lawrence Thigpen of Great Falls, who was hit in the chest with a bullet after he opened his front door.

Wilson was charged with murder, assault and battery with intent to kill and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, according to warrants.

The charges could carry life in prison, Assistant Solicitor Chris Taylor said.

Wilson's attorney, Jack Swerling, said his client did not shoot Brown or Thigpen.

Wilson wanted to quiet the situation before someone got hurt, Swerling said. But witnesses testified no one was fighting prior to the shooting.

Tammy Neal said she heard arguing from her home above Shooter's Cafe. Neal, who was with Brown that day and night, walked to Thigpen's fence and later saw Wilson.

"He went to his truck and got his gun," she testified. "The first time, he shot up in the air."

Some witnesses previously testified that Wilson emptied a clip and reloaded.

"All of us ducked down," Neal said. "Charlie was standing by us. He ran."

Great Falls police were separating the crowd when they were told Brown had been shot. The crowd became violent again, a police report states.

"It was the blacks against the whites," Neal said.

Officials recovered pieces of pool sticks, rocks, bottles and 28 shells. The weapon was not recovered.

Court will resume at 9:30 a.m. Monday.