Alexander Found Guilty In Murder Of Tallahassee Cab Driver

By: Julie Montanaro, Matt Galka Email
By: Julie Montanaro, Matt Galka Email

By Matt Galka
March 21, 2013
1:36pm

A Leon County Jury has found Nelson Alexander guilty of first degree murder and guilty of robbery with a firearm. The Jurors were polled and all stated that they voted guilty.


Updated: by Matt Galka
March 21, 2013
1:00 pm

Tallahassee, FL - The jury has been deliberating for more than one hour. They submitted a note with the question "Is there a difference in us finding him guilty of felony murder or first degree pre meditated murder?"

The judge and attorneys for both sides agreed that they could only refer them to the jury instructions.

Deliberations then continued.


UPDATED By Julie Montanaro
March 20, 2013

The state has rested its case against Nelson Alexander. Its star witness? One of the men accused of robbing and killing a Tallahassee cab driver right along with him.

He was the state's final witness. Davin Bowers took the stand Wednesday to tell the jury what happened the night cab driver O'Bryan Brandy was shot to death answering a call on Idlewild Drive.

"Butler and Nelson were trying to get Deondre to pull a lick with him," Bowers said.

Bowers said he went there with Nelson Alexander - who is now on trial - and two other men. He claims when talk to turned to "doing a lick" - which is a robbery - he got back in the truck and didn't get out .

"Who called the cab?" prosecutor Lorena Vollrath-Bueno asked.

"Butler called the cab," Bowers said.

Bowers says he saw a Yellow Cab coming down the street about 20 minutes later and this is what he claimed happened next:

"I hear a car door shut and five seconds later the yellow cab starts to back out of the driveway and as it's straightening out to leave I hear what sounded like a firecracker and uh like a minute or two later Nelson, Butler and Deondre comes to the truck running," Bowers said.

Defense attorneys claim Bowers story keeps changing. During cross examination he said the three other men were wearing gloves during the hold up, but then couldn't explain how Deondre Handsford's DNA got on the trigger.

FDLE's DNA expert did not find any of Alexander's DNA on any of the items tested including the gun, the cab and some bloody clothing.

"All of the swabs I was able to make comparisons, I did in fact exclude Mr. Alexander, DNA Analyst Sue Livingston testified.

All of them?

"Yes."

The state rested its case after Bowers' testimony. The defense rested its case without calling any additional witnesses.

Closing arguments will begin in the morning and then the jury will begin deliberating.

We'll keep you posted on a verdict.


Updated by Julie Montanaro
March 20, 2013
3:21pm

Davin Bowers is on the stand. He claims that he stayed in the truck the whole time and did not participate in the robbery at all.

Bowers said they went to an abandoned house on Idlewild Drive to smoke pot and "chill with some females."

Bowers testified Nelson Alexander and Derrick Butler were trying to convince Deondre Handsford to "pull a lick" of a cab driver. Bowers says that means a robbery.

He says about 20 minutes later he saw a cab come down the street and pull into the driveway of the abandoned house. He says he heard what sounded like a firecracker. He says the three other guys came running back to the truck and Nelson Alexander was yelling "let's go, let's go."


By Julie Montanaro
March 20, 2013

An FDLE analyst says she did not find Nelson Alexander's DNA on any of the 20 items tested in this case.

Sue Livingston says not only was she unable to match any of Alexander's DNA to the items, but he was excluded as a possible contributor.

Livingston testified she matched DNA on the trigger of the murder weapon to co-defendant Deondre Handsford. She said DNA on the gun's grip matched Davin Bowers. She testified that Derrick Butler's DNA was found on the cab's dashboard.


By Julie Montanaro
March 20, 2013

The medical examiner testified that O'Bryan Brandy died from two gunshot wounds to the head. Autopsy photos showed Brandy was shot in the back of the head and in the ear.

Medical examiner Lisa Flannagan says she retrieved two bullet fragments from Brandy's head and turned them over to police for testing.

FDLE firearms expert Jeff Foggy examined the bullet fragments and compared them to the suspected murder weapon. He testified the fragments were fired by that same 9mm.


UPDATED
By Julie Montanaro
March 19, 2013

The first of four men is now on trial for the murder of a Tallahassee cab driver.

"The car was still running. The dome light was on and the driver side door was standing open," Tallahassee Police Officer Tyesha Gates testified Tuesday. She was the first officer on scene October 29th, 2011.

She found Yellow Cab driver O'Bryan Brandy - slumped in the seat and shot in the head,

Nelson Alexander is one of four men accused of robbing and killing Brandy that night.

His attorney claims there is no DNA evidence linking him to the murder weapon, no proof that he called the cab company and contends Alexander backed out before any shots were fired.

"Mr. Alexander was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people," defense attorney John Eagan told the jury in his opening statements.

Perhaps the most damaging testimony against Alexander and the other three men came from co-defendant Derek Butler's girlfriend Whitney Hodges.

"I got a knock at my door at about 2:30," Hodges said. She testified the men came back to her home on Laura Lee Avenue soon after the murder.

"I noticed Handsford had blood on him," Hodges said.

"Ok and where did he have blood on him?" prosecutor Lorena Vollrath-Bueno asked.

"His clothing."

"And did you notice if anyone had a gun?"

"Yes."

"Who had a gun?"

"Davin Bowers."

"Can you describe the gun?"

"I seen a black handgun," Hodges said.

Hodges said she told Bowers to get the gun out of her house because there were children in the home. She says she did not know where he put the gun, but he left and came back without it.

Investigators testifed they found three long guns in her back shed and the 9mm murder weapon buried in her backyard.

Co-defendant Davin Bowers is expected to testify tomorrow.

We'll keep you posted on his testimony and let you know when the jury begins deliberating.



UPDATED
By Julie Montanaro
March 19, 2013

The general manager of Yellow Cab testified that O'Bryan Brandy went to pick up a fare on Idlewild Drive and was expecting to pick up someone named "Jackson."

Richard Tull said cab company records showed Brandy accepted the job at 1:42 a.m. and ten minutes later turned on his meter, which indicated he had located the passenger and the person was inside the cab.

Tull said that was the last they ever heard from Brandy. He says the dispatcher sent Brandy a message 18 minutes later when the cab had not moved. It said "please call office," but of course Brandy never did.


UPDATED
By Julie Montanaro
March 19, 2013

Gary Connors testified he heard two shots and then saw a white pick up truck leave the scene of the murder.

Connors said he was outside smoking a cigarette and letting his dog out when he heard two shots in quick succession.

Connors says he could not see inside the truck because it had dark tinted windows, but he said he heard more than one door close. He said the truck drove past him slowly and he's convinced the folks in the truck saw him.


Updated by Julie Montanaro
March 19, 2013 11am

Tallahassee, FL - Gloria Castaneda is testifying via video tape. Casteneda is a cancer patient who was walking along Idlewild Drive the night of the murder. She says fresh air helps with her nausea.

Castaneda says she met a man in a hoodie standing in the rain. She says he told her he was waiting for a Yellow cab. She said she offered him an umbrella, but the "well mannered" young man refused. She says she heard at least two other voices whispering and snickering in the bushes nearby.

After she walked away, she heard a pop and later two more "pops."

Casteneda identified Deondre Handsford as the man she talked to that night. An attorney asked how she could identify him with such certainty when it was dark, rainy and the guy was wearing a hoodie. She said he reminds her of Lil' Wayne.


UPDATED
By Julie Montanaro
March 18, 2013

Attorneys have agreed on 12 jurors and two alternates to hear the evidence against Nelson Alexander.

He is one of four men accused of robbing and killing Tallahassee cab driver O'Bryan Brandy in October 2011.

Testimony is expected to begin Tuesday morning.

The three other men have yet to stand trial. The state is seeking the death penalty against the accused triggerman.


Tallahassee, FL - Jury selection will begin today for one of four men accused of a Tallahassee cab driver's murder.

O'Bryan Brandy was robbed and shot to death in October of 2011.

Nelson Alexander will be the first to face trial.

Prosecutors say Alexander, as well as Derrick Butler, Davin Bowers and Deandre Handsford conspired to call a cab and rob Brandy.

For more on this story:

http://www.wctv.tv/news/recentarrests/headlines/TPD_Investigating_Body_Found_Inside_Vehicle__132844338.html


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