Brooks found guilty of murder

BRADENTON – A jury found former Lakewood Ranch High School quarterback Timothy Brooks guilty of first-degree murder and robbery with a firearm.

The jury convicted Brooks of the July 13, 2008, slaying of 19-year-old William White Jr. during a robbery in the area of 27th Avenue Drive East.

The jury received the case just before 12:40 p.m.

Before going into deliberations, attorneys presented closing arguments for more than two hours.

Assistant State Attorney Art Brown said Brooks “must be the unluckiest man in the world,” that his palm print was found on the car of Jakob Cunnien, who was driving a car White was riding in on the night of the shooting.

Defense attorneys argued that Brooks, 19, knew Cunnien and left the palm print on the car at a time prior to the shooting.

On the night of the shooting, Cunnien had gone to the neighborhood, near where Brooks lived, to buy marijuana. Brown argued that Brooks and another man, Cody Rogers, who both had pistols, robbed White and Cunnien when he stopped the car.

As Cunnien tried to drive away during the robbery, Brooks opened fire on White, fatally shooting him in the neck, Brown told jurors.

Brown also told the jury that several witnesses saw Brooks put a gun inside the open passenger side window before hearing a shot go off.

“They saw a man for no reason rip a chain off a man’s neck and shoot him,” Brown said.

Assistant Public Defender Peter Belmont attacked the credibility of the witnesses, many of whom were investigated in connection with the shooting. Belmont they had motivation to identify Brooks as the shooter because they feared trouble of their own from authorities.

Belmont also said it took days for the state’s witnesses to come forward and give statements after the shooting, but Brooks came forward the next day after finding out Manatee County Sheriff’s Office detectives wanted to interview him.

Brooks came forward even after his brother-in-law, Darrell Townsend, testified he offered to hide him after the shooting.

“You know he came forward because he wanted to tell detectives as he has time and time again that he didn’t do it,” Belmont said.

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