Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Questions remain as prosecutors rest case against Vincent Brown

TAMPA — As the state rested its case Friday, uncertainty characterized the death-penalty prosecution of Vincent George Brown, accused of kidnapping his girlfriend in the trunk of her own car and killing her in November 2008.

A final day of medical testimony was mostly inconclusive. DNA samples showed that Brown had sex with his girlfriend, Jennifer Johnson, after taking her out on the night of Nov. 14.

But samples from Johnson's car, the derelict house in Lakeland where her body was found, and the plastic bags found wrapped around her face and neck failed to conclusively match Brown's DNA.

There was also uncertainty about where Johnson died. Polk County Medical Examiner Stephen Nelson said he believed her body was dumped at the house in Lakeland sometime after her murder elsewhere.

Nelson said abrasions on her body indicated she had been dragged, but he also found small rocks and leaf material in her vaginal cavity that he couldn't explain. He said Johnson died of asphyxiation, either from the plastic bags over her face, or from strangulation.

His testimony was a wearing ordeal for Johnson's family. Hillsborough Circuit Judge William Fuente warned them they would have to stay silent while the jury viewed autopsy photos, and they complied. Several wept quietly.

Other questions remained. Evidence included a frantic 911 call by Johnson in which she told a dispatcher she was trapped in the trunk of her car. But she told the dispatcher "they" put her in the trunk, while the state contends Brown acted alone.

Evidence also included a voice mail message Brown made hours later, saying he had done what he had to do, and wouldn't be around anymore. His attorneys say the message referred to his decision to turn himself in for a probation violation.

In opening statements last Monday, Brown's defense attorney Robert Fraser suggested Johnson could have been abducted by someone else in some other car.

The defense will present its case on Monday at 1 p.m.

John Barry can be reached at jbarry@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3383.

Questions remain as prosecutors rest case against Vincent Brown 11/10/11 [Last modified: Thursday, November 10, 2011 11:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. FWC investigates viral video of shark getting dragged behind speeding boat (w/video)

    Wildlife

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating a viral video that shows a shark being dragged behind a boat on a rope as men laugh each time its body slams the water.

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating a viral video that shows a shark being dragged behind a boat on a rope as men laugh each time its body slams the water. [Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
  2. Cheers, whoops for McCain's return, then impassioned speech

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — In high drama at the Capitol, Sen. John McCain on Tuesday delivered a crucial vote in the Republican drive to dismantle the health care law, a win for President Donald Trump and GOP leaders, and then leveled a broadside at how the GOP got there.

    In this image from video provided by C-SPAN2, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. is embraced by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of N.Y. as he arrives of the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday. [C-SPAN2 via AP]
  3. For starters: Slumping LoMo, Dickerson not in Rays lineup tonight vs LHP

    Blogs

    1B Logan Morrison and LF Corey Dickerson, two of the main slumpers in the Rays lineup, are not in tonight's lineup with the Orioles throwing LHP Wade Miley.

    Logan Morrison is 0-for-12 on this homestand.
  4. Pence breaks tie as Senate votes to begin debating 'Obamacare' repeal

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — The Senate narrowly voted Tuesday to begin debate on a bill to repeal major provisions of the health care law, taking a pivotal step forward after the dramatic return of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who cast a crucial vote despite his diagnosis of brain cancer.

    Vice President Mike Pence (R) and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus arrive on Capitol Hill, Tuesday in Washington, D.C. [Getty Images]
  5. Rubio helps GOP secure votes to proceed on health care debate

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans secured enough votes to proceed to debate on health care proposals, with Marco Rubio of Floirda joining in.