Gaines is accused of shooting Johnson, who was inside her home in Grand Rapids, through a window. Brown said he was beaten and robbed the day before Johnson was killed. He said his acquaintance, Robert Gaines, agreed to go with him to look for the people responsible.
Brown said he stayed in the truck while Gaines took a shotgun that he said was given to them and went toward the Johnson home.
“I says, ‘Hey man, If you see any of them fools, whack them,” said Brown.
He said Gaines returned a few minutes later and said that he “f---ed up.”
“He said that, ‘I just saw a light from the window, I didn’t see what it was, but I just picked up my gun and I shot,’” Brown recollected in testimony.
In April, Brown pleaded down to a lesser charge of second degree murder. He’ll be sentenced on December 19th.
Brown said he kept it quiet for 18 years until detectives went to his home in Nebraska earlier this year.
“The reason I didn’t say anything was because I knew I was involved and I was scared and I didn’t know what to do,” said Brown.
Gaines defense attorney, John Beason, has argued that Brown acted alone and is lying to police. In earlier testimony, Beason asked lead detective Patrick Needham if they would have enough to charge Gaines without Brown’s testimony.
“Up until Brown was arrested for this murder, did you have enough to charge Robert Gaines with this murder?” Beason asked. “No,” said Needham.
Beason suggested that Brown just could not admit to himself that he killed a little girl.
“You can admit everything up, being with Mr. Gaines, riding over on Canton Street, being in the truck,” Beason asked Brown in court. “But you cannot lead yourself to tell the jury that you shot that shotgun?”
“I never did such sir,” said Brown.
Judge Robert Redford estimated that the trial could be in the hands of the jury by Wednesday.