Mar 29, 2010

MCVRC Appeals Jurisdiction Ruling in Maryland Case

Trial nears in music producer's slaying
Widow will face man accused of killing husband in Lake Arbor
by Liz Skalski | Staff Writer

Less than two months before the trial for her husband's murder is scheduled to begin — and more than three years since he died in her arms near their Lake Arbor home — Danielle Steele Brown is preparing to face the man accused of killing her husband, music producer Raymond Brown, known as "Scottie Beats."

"Having to sit and answer questions and be cross-examined by a group of attorneys who are willing to defend, to me, these monsters — that scares me," said Steele Brown, 37. "[But] I don't have a choice — I have to do this because if I don't, Scottie doesn't have a shot at having justice."

The trial is scheduled to begin May 10 and expected to last approximately three weeks. Jamaal Alexis, 23, of Landover was indicted July 31 on murder charges for Brown's death Oct. 13, 2006, three months after the Browns were married.

Alexis is accused of towing Brown's Chrysler 300 sedan early that morning, then allegedly shooting and killing Brown, 36, as he approached the tow truck.

During the trial, Alexis also be will tried for murder and retaliation for testimony for the October 2008 deaths of Bobby Ennels, 22, of Capitol Heights, an alleged accomplice in Brown's murder who was expected to testify against Alexis as a witness for the prosecution, and friend Anthony Cash III, 22, of Capitol Heights. They were found shot dead in a car in Landover.

In addition, Alexis will be tried for the attempted murder and first-degree assault of a 16-year-old girl who also was in the car.

Alexis is accused of arranging from jail to have Ennels killed by Alexis' brother, Rashadd Alexis, 21, of Landover. Rashadd Alexis was also indicted July 31 in Ennels' and Cash's deaths, as well as charges of attempted murder and first-degree assault of the girl, retaliation for testimony and handgun charges.

Rashadd Alexis' murder trial had been scheduled to begin May 10, but is expected to be delayed, although a new date has not yet been set.

Rashadd Alexis was indicted July 31 on 10 counts, including murder, first-degree assault and retaliation for testimony, among other charges, according to court documents.

Four days before jury selection for Jamaal Alexis' murder trial was scheduled to begin in January, the case was postponed for the seventh time to May to give the defense more time to prepare.

"My life stopped dead in its tracks [that night]. May 10 is the day the wheels start to move again," Steele Brown said. "I will never, ever see [my husband] again, but I don't think I can live with the possibility of them walking away. I know what I had to do as his wife. I wouldn't leave his side when he got shot, and I'm not going to leave his side before the trial is over.

Steele Brown is also fighting for continued representation by a crime victims' attorney during the trial.

In February, Prince George's County Circuit Court Judge William D. Missouri ruled that Steele Brown's crime victims' attorney for the last two years, Jani Tillery of Washington, D.C., would not be allowed to represent her because of jurisdictional limits to her license to practice in Maryland.

On behalf of Steele Brown, the Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center Inc. in Upper Marlboro filed a motion after a March 12 hearing requesting that Tillery be reinstated as Steele Brown's representation. A ruling is expected in early April.

Steele Brown said she spent March 6, which would have been her husband's 40th birthday, with his closest friends.

"His birthday is always a beautiful day. I don't remember a March 6 since he's died that hasn't been a beautiful day. It was as if Scottie was smiling down on me," she said.

Steele Brown said she now finds herself thinking about the vacations she and her husband never enjoyed and the children they never had.

"The fact that I am 37 years old and I am no longer married and I don't have a family on my own, all those things I was robbed of. I waited 34 years for him, and he was snatched from me," she said.

Steele Brown said she began dating again a year ago, but it has been difficult because she still loves her husband and has not yet had closure because of the trial delays.

To help get her through the trial, Steele Brown said she is relying on her love for her husband and her faith for strength.

"I know [Raymond is] watching over me. I know God is watching over me," she said.

E-mail Liz Skalski