My name is Cornelius Alden Brown, but most people call me Al. I am a 48 year old father of 4 boys and 1 daughter, their names are Cornelius, Jr; Davion, Jornelius, Alante and Quanie.
I was born in Detroit, but raised in Lansing, Michigan. I moved to Lansing at a young age to get a fresh start after experiencing adjustment and social problems in Detroit. My sisters (Anna & Andrea) and I were raised by our beloved mother Casara, who struggled between working, raising us and abusive relationships. Making this transition, I had to comport to the slow tempo of Michigan's capital city. I experienced a challenging childhood, just as most urban city youth do.
I quickly became engulfed in and captivated by the life of crime. After several stints with the juvenile system, I started to get my life together and head in the right direction. I found a mentor (Mr. Doug Pringle) who dedicated his life to helping adverse youth like myself.
Mr. Pringle started me lifting weights, focusing on sports (football, wrestling and powerlifting) and socializing like normal teenagers do.
I was emancipated by the State and living on my own during my high school years, because I experienced subsequent adjustment problems. I lived a double life as a football star and drug dealer, so that I could provide for my family and help my mother with her struggles.
However, in my senior year of high school and as a star athlete, trouble came knocking at my door.
In 1990, I ended up in prison for shooting gang members when they tried to rob and kill me at a local bar over money. As a consequence, I spent 7 years in prison trying to find myself and purge my past.
In 1997, after I was released from prison, I became a semi-pro football player, a Co-CEO of a record label, a manager and telecommunication assistant of a pager shop, and an amateur actor in an urban movie.
Fresh out of prison, I was compelled to raise my newborn son CJ (with little, to no parenting skills), because his mother committed suicide due to postpartum depression months after his birth. This unexpected blindside was mindboggling, but in light of the deplorable father/son relationship that I had endured, it was me and CJ against the world. My son meant the world to me, and he was my prize possession! During this time, Davion, Jornelius and Alante were born, all of whom I had no hands on contact with, due to my current incarceration. Nonetheless, I still did what I could as a father from prison and with the help of my Mom, beloved step father AJ, and friends.
The misfortunes of this case, jumped out on me, like a cat does a midnight stroller walking down a desolate street. My story is about two complete strangers (me and the victim Ms. Shemika Rogers) who were unjustly robbed of our lives, behind circumstances that had nothing to do with either of us. Our story goes like this:
Cornelius Brown #212722
Lakeland Correctional Institution
141 First Street
Coldwater, MICHIGAN 49036
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On the night of the murder Jones, Big Mike (Bragg's), my friend Heather, my son CJ and I were at my house, wrapping presents, when Jones got a Nextel two-way communication saying "That Bitch Ass Nigga Is At Arby's on the south side". Heather said "Sam grabbed a silver handgun" and "Al grabbed a long wooden gun, then he, Sam and Big Mike left".
However, post-trial affidavits prove that Jones and I left in two different cars. This fact never came out, because neither Sam nor I testified, and Big Mike was threatened by Prosecutors not to go to Court, or his probation status would be revoked.
Gentry was told by Wells, that Kennard was driving a silver Range Rover, and Rogers was in the passenger seat. Wells told Gentry this, because Gentry stated that he sought revenge because Kennard robbed them, assaulted Speed and threatened to kill his family. Wells told Gentry, that the Range Rover was heading towards East Lansing, which caused Gentry to drive "crazy and fast" trying to find the truck, to the point Speed had to tell him to slow down several times. State's witnesses testified, that Mendenhall communicated their travel route, the Range Rover's description, and the name of the apartments they followed the truck into, directly to Jones. That once at the apartments, Gentry backed their car in, turned off the lights, and left the car running as he and Mendenhall approached the truck, but not until Kennard went into the building.
That night, Mendenhall wore a big puffy down-filled coat, jeans, and white and blue tennis shoes. However, at Trial, these clothes suddenly changed to Mendenhall wearing a blue, yellow and red Nautical spring jacket, khaki pants, and red and black shoes.
Mendenhall testified, that during this time he was 6'-0" and weighed 165 to 175 lbs.
Whereas I was a 5'-11" and 280 lbs semi-pro football player, wearing a black blue jean jacket, black jeans, white shirt, and black boots or "all black" according to Gentry, Mendenhall and Speed.
Gentry and Mendenhall testified, that they approached the Range Rover, went directly to the passenger side widow, cautiously watching for Kennard, while beating on the truck and yelling "Where is Kevin at?" to Rogers. Rogers responded "He ain't in here" and told them to "Leave me alone and go to hell". Mendenhall said, Rogers began "Moving around like she was going for a gun or something", which caused him "Fear". And that, "when the shots were fired, we thought that Kevin was shooting at us", "I was still high off the 7 cigar blunts of weed that me and Pat just smoked", and that, "I was high all the way up until the shots were fired".
They said, that prior to the shooting, Jones pulled up in the Taurus, parked the car, and he was "all alone". That Jones never got out of the car, and that they never saw Jones with a gun prior to, during, or after the shooting.
Two college students (Kristen Borton and Jason Savage) testified, that they heard shots and saw a tall thin man about 6' weighing about 165 to 175 lbs run by with a gun, and that, he was wearing a big puffy down-filled jacket, jeans and white shoes. However, after being hypnotized by a Michigan State Police Psychologist, Savage changed his description to the shooter possibly weighing 280 lbs. and being stocky built.
Seized, but undisclosed phone records prove that there was no communication between me and Gentry, or Jones’ cars prior to, during, or after the murder. Thereby making it impossible for me to know the location of the crime scene.
Darius, Rogers’ 4 year old son (who witnessed the shooting), testified that "Two bad guys came up to the truck, asked 'Where is Kevin at?'", and that "they shot my mom". Conduct consistent with State witnesses Gentry and Mendenhall.
Sgt. Reinhard Pope of the Michigan State Police Department gave expert testimony about the ballistics evidence in this case. He said that the evidence submitted to him had 8 lands and grooves with a right twist, which came from either a Hi Point Model 995 Carbine Rifle or a .38 Special Revolver. That's because 9mm shell casings were found at the scene, that the Hi Point (an ALL BLACK gun) was the murder weapon. Based on this, the Prosecutor sent its investigators to a pawn shop to buy a Hi Point 995, and show it to witnesses Gentry, Heather, Mendenhall and Speed (during Trial) to help them put the Hi Point in my hands.
Pope withheld some unique lands and grooves impression measurements of 075-060 and 076-061, that distinguished the Hi Point from the .38, and which proves that two different and distinct weapons were used in this crime. The 076-061 measurement is solely compatible with the .38 Revolver, which is germane when the State argued a 1 shooter theory.
NOTE: You have a young victim with no history of gun shot wounds, with two different caliber of bullets in her, from a single shooter incident, allegedly using 1 specific make and model weapon. The "silver handgun" and "wooden gun" that Jones and I possessed on the night of the crime, and described by Heather, were seized from my house and scientifically excluded from being used in this crime.
In 1999, Kevin Kennard (Shemika Rogers’ boyfriend) came to Lansing, hellbent on making a name for himself as a street thug, robber, and drug dealer. This occupational choice is how my path crossed with Rogers, and became the worst experiences of our lives!
Kennard, through the help of a mutual associate, began to rob local drug dealers in and around Lansing. Atop of these acts, Kennard commissioned the spoils of his robberies to local teenagers, one of whom turned out to be my Co-Defendant Sam Jones’ little brother Mikey. However, Mikey was remiss in meeting his payment obligations. This infuriated Kennard, who thereby vowed to hold anyone connected to Mikey financially liable for his delinquent drug debt. Kennard started accosting Mikey's family, friends and associates, all except me. This is how the linchpin of the Prosecution's case (Patrick Gentry, Darrian Mendenhall and Amber Speed) come into play, and changed me Rogers’ lives forever.
Kennard imposed his will on State witnesses Gentry, Mendenhall and Speed in more ways than one.
The Prosecutor theorized that Rogers’ death was a result of a drug deal gone bad. However, he suppressed key information showing an alternative motive! In May 1999, Kennard attempted to kill State's witness Mendenhall's baby brother, Jamerre Mendenhall, over a different drug debt.
In October 1999, Kennard and other armed men robbed and assaulted Gentry, Darrian Mendenhall and Speed over money and drugs. Kennard held Gentry, Mendenhall and Speed at gun point, and assaulted Speed by dragging her around the house by her hair, in front of Gentry and Speed's child. Gentry shot at Kennard during this incident, and then called the police and falsely claimed that Kennard shot at him. Kennard and his friends from Detroit repeatedly called Gentry,
Mendenhall and Speed, threatening to kill them if they didn’t pay Mikey's drug debt, and drop the robbery/assault and home invasion charges.
Co-Defendant Sam Jones was at the Gentry and Speed home during this incident, but ran out of the house as Kennard and the other robbers entered. Jones did not return to the Gentry and Speed home until the police arrived! I was not there. Nor did I have any involvements with Kennard or this incident.
Gentry was allegedly so afraid of Kennard, that he moved his family to a motel until he was able to relocate them out of town.
Kennard moved back to Detroit, because of the heat from the police, but continued to threaten the lives of Gentry, Mendenhall and Speed from out of town. Gentry expressed his concerns to Ben Wells, a mutual friend of his and Kennard. In December 1999, Wells informed Gentry, Mendenhall and Speed that Kennard was back in Lansing, and at the Arby's on Lansing's south side. Gentry, Mendenhall and Speed then stalked Kennard and Rogers’ Range Rover from Lansing to East Lansing, and to an isolated apartment complex where Rogers was fatally shot.
Prior to Roger’s death, Kennard had no dealings with me physically or via telecommunications.
· I don't fit the shooter's description by way of attire, height, size or weight. Take a look at any of my pictures on this page, and you can clearly see that I am not a thin man between 165 lbs and 175 lbs.
· Post-Trial affidavits proving Jones and I left in different cars;
· Seized phone records showing no communication between me and the Jones and Gentry cars prior to, during or after the shooting. This makes it impossible for me to know the location of the crime scene;
· Suppressed ballistics information showing that multiple weapons were used in this "theorized" single shooter incident;
· Suppressed exculpatory crime scene evidence (Range Rover Truck) that possessed "two vertical (steep angle) bullet holes" below truck windshield, that undermine State's shooter's position;
· Gross prosecutor and police misconduct, collusion and witness tampering that tainted this case to an irreparable state;
· I passed a polygraph test, but State witness Mendenhall failed his;
· The State's crime scene reconstruction expert witness, Sgt. Pope, was not qualified in 2001 to give ultimate conclusion testimony about "trajectory and angle of shots", until 2003, and based on his post-trial qualifications "shallow angle" bullet holes represent a distance shooter and "steep angle" bullet holes represent a close proximity shooter. This is germane, because State witnesses Gentry, Mendenhall and Speed put me 50 feet or more away from the truck;
· State witness Speed and embattled ex-Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart J. Dunnings had sexual involvements via Speed's escort/sex services; and
· Known criminal informant and drug dealer Gentry, was clandestinely working for the police, and after my trial (even though he was a key murder suspect in the case) he has been rewarded with a Deputy Sheriff position by THEN East Lansing Police Department Detective and NOW Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wrigglesworth.