Defense rests without calling a witness in Darius Brown trial

Charlie MegginsonHeadlines


The defense in the Darius Brown trial rested without calling a witness or bringing the state senator to the stand Wednesday.

The trial will continue Thursday in a Wilmington courtroom with the prosecution and defense making their closing statements before the jury of seven women and six men. One juror is an alternate.

Brown is charged with offensive touching and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. The charges stem from a May incident during which the victim says he hit her and threw a martini glass at her, which shattered. 

The victim testified at the Leonard L. Williams Justice Center in Wilmington that she and Brown have known each other for about 10 years and have been “off again on again” dating throughout that time.

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera

State Sen. Darius Brown

Nobody in the restaurant saw Brown hit her or throw the glass at her, and the altercation happened mostly out of view of the restaurant’s surveillance camera.

The prosecution called five witnesses: the victim, a bystander, a bartender, a waiter and a State Police Trooper.

Chief Judge Carl C. Danberg will reconvene the Court of Common Pleas trial at 9 a.m. Thursday.

The victim testified that Brown grew angry after seeing a Facebook photo on her phone of her and another man.

A customer sitting at the bar had his back turned away from Brown and the woman and only turned around after hearing the martini glass shatter. By that time, Brown was swiftly exiting the restaurant. 

A bartender also had his back turned to the table where the two were seated as he poured a beer from the taps that line the side wall of the restaurant. He, too, turned around only after hearing the martini glass shatter.

In the video, Brown — just barely in frame — can be seen getting up from the booth where he is seated. He then leans over slightly, at which point the customer and bartender turn their heads just as Brown turns and walks out of the restaurant. 

The altercation happens in a matter of seconds.

As Brown walked out of the restaurant, surveillance video shows that he nearly ran into the manager, who also testified Wednesday. 

After Brown left, the witnesses described seeing the woman sitting in the booth, drenched in liquid and looking visibly upset. After a short time, the male customer walked over to her and said, “I just want to apologize on behalf of all men. All men don’t act like that.”

Brown’s defense attorney, Bill Rhodunda of Rhodunda, Williams & Kondraschow, said it would have been physically impossible for Brown to have struck the woman. 

He referenced earlier statements from the victim and others which said she had moved to the far end of the 6-foot-long booth. 

Rhodunda, using a tape measure, determined the length of the defense table in the courtroom to be roughly six feet also. He had Brown stand up next to him with his hand raised to demonstrate that Brown and Rhodunda are approximately the same height. Then, standing at the end of the table, he bent over and reached as far as he could across the table. His arm made it about halfway. 

The prosecution also honed in on a receipt they recovered for a bouquet of flowers sent to the victim the day after the altercation. 

Along with the bouquet of 12 white roses was a note that said “I Love You 50-11” times. Although Brown didn’t put his name on the note, the victim said she knew it was from him because “50-11 times” was a phrase she used in front of him that she picked up from her grandmother, which essentially means “a lot.”

Prosecutors, with the receipt State Police recovered, hinted that the bouquet demonstrates that Brown was conscious of his guilt following the altercation.

In order to be found guilty of offensive touching, the jury must find that the prosecution demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that Brown intentionally touched the victim either with a part of his body or with some instrument, knowing that she would likely be offended or alarmed by his actions.

To be found guilty on the second charge of disorderly conduct, the jury must find beyond a reasonable doubt that Brown intentionally caused a public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to another person.

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