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Overton faces 25-year prison term for attempted murder

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Bryant Overton
A man found guilty Wednesday of shooting a woman multiple times faces a 25-year prison sentence.

Three men and nine women jurors deliberated about 2-1/2 hours before finding Bryant Overton guilty of attempted first-degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery and conspiracy. Overton hung his head as each verdict was announced.

Overton, 25, of Broad Street was convicted of shooting victim Darice Brown and leaving her to die the night of Dec. 15, 2007 off Beesley Road. Brown,30, of Bellevidere, couldn't walk because she was shot in the leg so she used her elbows to crawl inthe middle of Beesley Road for help.

After the verdict, court appointed attorney Will Fraley, who represented Overton, said, "my client has indicated he wishes to appeal, even before he was found guilty in anticipation of the verdict."

Assistant District Attorney Paul Newman, who prosecuted the case, said he appreciated the hard work of sheriff's Detectives Ty Downing and Dwain "DJ" Jackson and interns Beci Huddleston and Lindsay Vogt, MTSU criminal justice interns who helped prepare the case.

"I am happy for Ms. Brown," Newman said. "I think she is happy with the verdict."

Newman was happy with the verdict too.

"I asked the jury to do justice and I think that's what they did," Newman said.

Downing, lead detective in the case, charged Overton, 25, of Broad Street with attempted first-degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, especially aggravated kidnapping of Brown and conspiracy. Three co-defendants were also charged. One pleaded guilty and two others continued their cases.

Trial started Tuesday for Overton, who pleaded not guilty. Outside the jury’s presence Wednesday, Overton told Circuit Court Judge David M. Bragg he did not want to testify in his trial. No witnesses testified in his behalf.

In Wednesday's testimony, Dr. Richard Miller of Vanderbilt University Medical Center said Brown's Injuries threatened her life.

Brown suffered six gunshot wounds to her body in her abdomen, damaging her liver, her left thigh, breaking her left leg (femur), her right thigh, her back and her buttocks, the doctor said. The injuries to her liver, rectum and femur resulted in major surgery.

“They were life-threatening,” Miller said.

During the first day of trial, Brown testified she set up a cocaine transaction between four people and a man she knew only as “BI.” Afterwards, she learned Overton and “BI” had problems previously. She accused Overton of shooting her the night of Dec. 15 to early on Dec. 16 in a remote area off Beesley Road.

She couldn’t walk so she crawled to the middle of the road for help.

Sheriff’s Detective Dwain Jackson testified “BI” was Brown’s boyfriend. Brown appeared shocked when he identified “BI” as her boyfriend. She spoke to Jackson after his testimony.

Assistant District Attorney Paul Newman asked Jackson why he testified again.

Jackson said he returned to the witness stand Wednesday to correct his testimony. After speaking to Brown Tuesday, Jackson reviewed his files. He told jurors he incorrectly testified “BI” was her boyfriend.

Brown dated a man whose nickname was “BO,” not “BI” who sold drugs the night she was shot.

Attorney Will Fraley, who represents Overton, asked Jackson if Brown had a relationship with “BI.”

“No,” Jackson replied.

Sheriff’s Lt. Philip Martin testified he collected six shell casings from .380-caliber rounds from the crime scene. The weapon was not recovered.

He collected her jeans, which showed four holes in the back, consistent with her injuries.

The temperature was about 20 to 30 degrees with rain and ice and wind gusts between 20 to 25 mph.

Fraley asked if he took gunshot residue from Overton and the other three people in the car. Martin replied he did not. Also, he did not fingerprint the purse because it was wet and he did not believe he could lift a fingerprint from the surface.

During closing arguments, Newman said even though Brown set up the cocaine transaction, the shooting was not justified.

"I submit she would have been shot more times if he had more bullets," Newman said.

After the shooting, Overton and the other co-defendants left her for dead.

Newman asked jurors to find Overton guilty on all four counts.

Fraley said the victim and four co-defendants were together to buy drugs.

"For many drug addicts, cocaine was calling their names," Fraley said.

Fraley blamed the co-defendants with supplying a gun to Overton and driving him to a secluded area where the shooting occurred.

If shooting to kill, Fraley said the shooter will not shoot a victim in the buttocks or legs.

Fraley asked jurors to find Overton not guilty.

In the final argument, Newman said the defendants abandoned her.

"He (Overton) did everything in his power to kill her," Newman said.

Newman asked the jurors to "do justice."

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Members Opinions:
March 26, 2009 at 9:49am
Even if this criminal gets 25 years in prison, he will be out in half the time (or less). Stay tuned for his next trial in 15 years or so.
March 26, 2009 at 3:53pm
Your totaly right RonB. Isn't it funny how the court system works? And wonder why theres so many crimes everyday? Its just a free Bed & A meal to most of them.
March 27, 2009 at 8:30am
Then tell us the solution. Unless we're willing to place a prison on every corner in every city, we can't keep them in prison indefinitely.

Don't get me wrong - I wish we could lock 'em up forever. But we can't. Perhaps we should focus more on the root causes of crime instead of the punishment. We could start by decriminalizing drugs.
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