Man Gets Life Sentence For Tallahassee Murder

By: Eyewitness News; Julie Montanaro Email
By: Eyewitness News; Julie Montanaro Email
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A jury deliberated for four hours before finding Jacob Thomas guilty of first degree murder in the shooting death of Steven Brown.

Suspect Jacob Thomas

By Julie Montanaro
April 16, 2014 2:30pm

Tallahassee, Fla. -- A jury deliberated for four hours before finding Jacob Thomas guilty of first degree murder in the shooting death of Steven Brown.

The judge then sentenced Thomas to life in prison.

By Julie Montanaro
April 15, 2014 7pm

A shooting that wound up on FDLE's list of hate crimes is now unfolding in court.

A Tallahassee man is on trial for murder. He's accused of firing a deadly shot in what started out as an argument over meat.

"He had steaks and pork chops and all kinds of meats, you know, he sells these," Sara Abner testified.

Sarah Abner says everyone called Steven Brown "the Meat Man."

Prosecutor Jack Campbell told the jury Brown would go to Wal Mart and obtain meat, food, whatever ya'll want and sometimes trade those for drugs or alcohol."

Brown died in Abner's front yard on Nashville Drive back in May 2012

Abner says she had just left to pick up cans, when she heard the shot.

"I heard the shot. Pow! I turned around, and my knee kind of bad, so I can run a little bit. So I run up there, I go around the car and there was Steven on the ground."

Jacob Thomas is accused of pulling the trigger that night. Abner says Thomas repeatedly offered to go to Wal Mart to buy him some food - and Thomas repeatedly said no.

"They were tussling," Frederick Franklin testified.

Franklin testified he tried to break up the argument. He says Brown rushed Thomas and the two men started rolling around on the ground.

"The pistol was some kind of way, and I don't really know who grabbed it, but it got between them... and next thing I know, I hear a gun go off," Franklin said.

That gunshot awakened Henry Isom who was asleep inside the house. He says he walked out to see Thomas standing over Brown's body with a gun in his hand.

"Yeah, he said, you bad (expletive) (expletive), you dead now, and he said "I don't like white folks' and he walked on off and I ain't see him no more," Isom said.

The trial is expected to continue tomorrow. We'll keep you posted on a verdict.

by Julie Montanaro
April 15, 2014, 10 a.m.

Tallahassee, Fla. -- A Tallahassee man is on trial accused of pistol whipping and shooting Steven Brown in May 2012.

Jacob Thomas is accused of first degree murder.

Prosecutors say Thomas, Brown and another man were all sitting in chairs in front of a home on Nashville Drive when Brown and Thomas got into an argument.

Prosecutors say it started when Brown offered to buy items with food stamps in exchange for drugs or alcohol.

Prosecutors plan to call the third man to testify. He was the only eyewitness police could find.

UPDATED 5.4.2012 by Julie Montanaro

Deputy state attorney Georgia Cappleman says prosecutors have not yet made a decision about whether to charge J.T. Thomas with a hate crime.

Cappleman says they want to talk with witnesses themselves first.

Tallahassee, Florida - May 3, 2012 - Noon - by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man is now under arrest for a deadly shooting.

J.T. Thomas made his first appearance in court this morning and was denied bond.

Thomas is accused of shooting and killing Steven Brown on the corner of Knoxville Lane and Nashville Drive yesterday.

Arrest papers say the two men were sitting in the yard drinking when Thomas and Brown got into an argument.

According to witnesses, Thomas said "he didn't like white people" and the two men ended up fighting on the ground. Police say Thomas ultimately shot Brown in the stomach and killed him.

Tallahassee, Florida - May 3, 2012 - 9:20am -

On May 02, 2012 at approximately 12:55AM, the Tallahassee Police Department was called to the residence at 1440 Nashville Drive for a shooting incident. The responding officers located the victim- Steven Brown deceased at the scene.

Investigators and Forensic Specialists arrived on scene from the Criminal Investigation Division and assumed the investigation. Subsequent interviews and evidence collected on scene identified a suspect in the case. TPD’s Career Criminal Unit along with assistance from the US Marshal’s Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force located and arrested the suspect Jacob Thomas just 14 hours after the homicide occurred.

Chief Dennis Jones said “I am proud of all who assisted in this investigation. I am pleased to announce TPD arrested this dangerous criminal and he will be brought to justice for this
terrible crime.”

Tallahassee, Florida - May 2, 2012 - Noon -

Neighbors on Knoxville Lane say they heard one shot and later realized a man was dead.

It happened in the front yard of the house on the corner of Knoxville and Nashville. The woman who lives there says she was not home at the time and came home to find a man dead in her yard and police everywhere.

One man says he had to walk his daughter to the school bus stop on that same corner this morning. "It's senseless violence," he said.

TPD have identified the man who was shot and killed, but are still in the process of trying to notify his family. Right now, police are not commenting on a motive, suspect, or whether or not the man was the intended target.

Tallahassee, Florida - May 2, 2012 - 7:30am -

One person is dead after a fatal shooting in Tallahassee early Wednesday morning.

The shooting happened a little after 1 A.M. on the 1400 block of Knoxville Lane in the western part of Tallahassee.

T.P.D. responded to the scene where a male had been shot. Attempts to revive the victim were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The shooter is still on the run.

T.P.D. expects to release more information throughout the day.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Sandy on May 11, 2012 at 08:01 PM
    I just wanted to say Steve was a very special person ,and no mater how you try to justify something like this it's still ends up the same ,Steve,s nephew,my son Chad was also shot and killed by a mindless,gutless coward ,my take on this is what you soe you should reap the same ,no mercy!!!!!!our laws should be you kill someone you die the same way ,no mercy , no mercy
  • by Deanna on May 9, 2012 at 12:01 PM
  • by Anonymous on May 8, 2012 at 11:42 PM
  • by Deanna on May 7, 2012 at 08:34 AM
    I will miss Steve. Was hoping there would be some sort of service for him. We were friends. He once sang me the song he wrote about mothers. Now I wish I had the precios words he sang to me.he was so nice to my family and I. He always helped in anyway he could. One night he even savedmy life.steve made an impact on many lives. I will see him in heaven.
  • by Brown Family Location: Monroe MI on May 7, 2012 at 07:45 AM
    Hate crime or not he needs to rot in prison! Id make him write letters to all Stevens family say sorry and how some will never met him due to his drunking stupidity in pulling a gun in a fist fight.... Should of just continued to throw punches probably would of been sitting together on the next day drinking again...
  • by Anonymous on May 7, 2012 at 05:26 AM
    Thinking maybe the KKK should do a march through town saying the man needs to be charged with a hate crime. I mean it worked when everyone marched for the black boy, so lets march for the white man.
  • by Anonymous on May 6, 2012 at 06:14 PM
    What if he had a hoodie and a pack of skittles .....would the black man still be in jail.....he's not Racist...that's just an excuse ....I'am family and hell am white
  • by Aunt from KY Location: Ohio River, Kentucky on May 5, 2012 at 03:26 PM
    Steve is my nephew. Cheated of his life as a child and chosing to live in Tallahassee, murdered by a RACIST who "hates white people." If it were the other way around, national news would be all over it. Steve new Jesus and you should hear the songs he wrote and sang. Jesus knew Steve and Steve is with Jesus now. No one--family or foe--can hurt him now. Birds flew onto his finger and shoulder, animals loved him and he had a special gift from God with God's creatures. Yes, black man, Steve will even forgive you for murdering him. Are you saved by Jesus? You have blood on your hands. Your gun saw to that. Steve was unarmed, where was the fairness in that? Steve must have been powerful or feared, or you wouldn't have shot him to death--in cold blood!
    • reply
      by Brown Family on May 7, 2012 at 07:46 AM in reply to Aunt from KY
      • reply
        by Janet on May 7, 2012 at 05:46 PM in reply to Brown Family
        You bet cha.
  • by AD on May 4, 2012 at 10:20 PM
    Why are you people so mad? Don't you know it's ok for a black person to say "I hate white people" and then shoot someone? I mean, why should that be considered a "Hate Crime"?? I've read thousands of comments on this site and according to what I've read, there's no such thing as a racist black person! I hope everyone is picking up on my sarcasm because I'm laying it on pretty thick.
  • by Reality Check on May 4, 2012 at 09:19 PM
    Ok so this is the deal. We are tired of u acting like animals. We are tired of being pushed into corners and having to bite our tongues so that your poor little feelings arent hurt. This is the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. Fair is fair for everyone. This IS a hate crime. Now you have fed our hate. You cannot think that you or your kind own us or this town. I am a fair minded individual tired of being pushed around. Tired of walking on eggshells. This has to end. It has to be our choice to end it. Hate if you want but keep your mouth shut. Violence breeds violence. I hope the man that was killed put all of those knots on this guys head, and I hope this is not the last beating he takes. I hope they beat him all the way to the electric chair. Printed or not this is the truth.
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