Darriynn Ronnell Brown, the 18-year-old suspected of kidnapping and gruesomely murdering four-year-old Cash Gernon, was charged Wednesday with capital murder, which in Texas carries a life sentence and even the death penalty.
As noted by MEAWW news, prosecutors will determine Brown’s whether to seek the death penalty before the trial begins.
Brown was arrested and charged with kidnapping and burglary last month after he allegedly snatched the sleeping 4-year-old from his crib and brutally beat him to death, leaving his lifeless, bloodied body in a street where it was found by a local jogger, court documents and video surveillance reportedly show.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Heath Harris, an attorney for Brown, “said he was frustrated by how slowly authorities were moving but hoped the new charge would mean he’d be able to request an examining trial and get access to evidence. At an examining trial, a judge would determine whether there is enough evidence for a case to go before a grand jury.”
“It’s almost a month after this tragedy, and I’m still waiting to prepare this kid’s defense. We can’t do that till we have all the evidence,” said Harris, noting that he’s waiting for his client’s mental health to be evaluated.
Disturbing night vision footage exclusively obtained by the Daily Mail seems to show the terrifying moments before Cash was taken from his crib. The footage also shows that the man, allegedly Brown, apparently coming back for Cash’s twin brother, Carter, hours later:
“The night-vision footage shows Brown – dressed in a hoodie and wearing a backpack — creeping around and hoovering near the child’s bed while he slept. As Brown lifted Gernon’s blanket – the child appears to awaken – as Brown whisks him out of the room,” Fox News reported.
According to The Daily Mail, the footage also shows the alleged killer “hovering menacingly over Carter Gernon as he slept in the crib he shared with his twin brother Cash around 7 a.m.,” adding, “But Brown appears to get spooked by a sound in the house and flees, leaving Carter asleep.”
Cash was living with his biological father’s former girlfriend in Dallas, Texas, at the time of the incident. The child and his twin brother were left in the woman’s care after their father disappeared in March. The boy’s biological mother says she did not know her twins were in the care of the former girlfriend and had been searching for her boys.
Brown was arrested on April 27 on a misdemeanor charge of evading arrest in a case that’s still pending. According to court documents for that charge, he lives with his parents a half-mile from where the boy’s body was found. Neighbors have said Brown was known to walk in the area.
“Brown is also accused of walking into a Dallas home on Feb. 8 and grabbing a young child. Police said he broke in and rummaged around, then punched the homeowner after being confronted,” The Dallas Morning News noted. “He picked up the man’s 2-year-old granddaughter, but the man was able to get the girl back from him, according to an affidavit. The homeowner didn’t want to press charges at the time and told police that Brown had apologized to him later.”