Trial starts for man accused of firing gun in downtown BG

By Marie Thomas-Baird, [email protected]

The state is going to have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Marquise Brown fired a weapon that wounded a bystander downtown last fall.

And that won’t happen, said defense attorney Michael Kelley on Monday, during the first day of Brown’s trial in the courtroom of Wood County Common Pleas Judge Matt Reger.

Brown, 22, is accused of discharging a weapon in the Howard’s Club H parking lot, striking a man twice in the leg.

He was indicted in June for felonious assault, a second-degree felony, and obstructing justice, a third-degree felony.

Brown was indicted again in December for obstructing justice, a fifth-degree felony, and assault, a first-degree misdemeanor.

The jury will see a lot of evidence, including that of someone shot, Kelley said.

“But what you will see is circumstantial evidence,” he said. “What you won’t see is the shooter fire the shots.”

There is nothing to prove that Brown was the shooter, he said.

His client was at the rear of the parking lot, near the Tiki Bar, but so were a lot of people, Kelley said. His client fled, but so did a lot of people, he said.

The shell casings found at the scene matched a gun that had been owned by Brown’s brother, but it had been stolen.

“I don’t think anything you will see will prove that Marquise Brown is the shooter,” Kelley said.

There is not much that will be contested in this case, said Wood County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Anderson.

The charge of felonious assault concludes that Brown did knowingly cause physical harm by means of a deadly weapon. In this case, that was a Taurus 9mm handgun, Anderson said.

There is a firearms specification to that charge that would add a mandatory three years to a prison sentence.

Brown and the victim knew each other; they were both high school athletes in Toledo, but they did not travel to Bowing Green together, Anderson said. This man was not the intended target, he said.

That man “walked into something he was not aware of and was shot,” Anderson said.

One bullet was a through and through, and the second bullet broke the man’s leg, he said.

The back of that parking lot, in the 200 block of North Main Street, is one of the few areas downtown that does not have a city surveillance camera, Anderson said.

The second assault charge is for Brown causing harm to another, this being a different person he struck in the face before the shooting, Anderson said.

The white hatchback that witnesses said fled the scene was first caught on downtown security cameras at the corner of North Prospect and East Wooster streets at 11:23 p.m. on Oct. 2, 2021. Cameras show Brown and four other men go to the front door of the Liquid Bar, then turn and enter the parking lot by Howard’s, Anderson said.

An altercation starts, the men go off camera, and then four gunshots are heard, he said.

The white vehicle was stopped 2 miles north of Bowling Green on Interstate 75 and the occupants were taken to the police station.

“He flat out lies to the police officers,” Anderson said

A national database has linked the gun used in the shooting to Brown’s brother, he said.

“Evidence will show he was, in fact, the shooter,” he said.

Officers, upon arrival at the scene, found a 21-year-old Bowling Green man lying on the ground. He had been shot in the leg, according to the police report, and was transported to a Toledo hospital.

The victim’s uncle told police they were standing in line for the Tiki Bar, which is an adjacent outdoor seating area to Liquid Bar. The line extended into the parking lot. An older-model car pulled up to a building nearby and people got out and started arguing with others.

Another witness told police that gunshots rang out about 5-10 minutes after the arguing.

Video obtained from Tiki Bar showed Brown punching another man. According to the police report, after officers obtained this video, “it became clear that (co-defendant Deshawntae Madison) and Brown’s group were most likely the intended target of the shooting.”

According to the police report, witnesses said they saw a man involved in the altercation go to a red car, pull a gun and start shooting.

That report concludes that the shooter and his group left in a red four-door car.”

A gunshot residue test on the five co-defendants came back positive for three of them, including Brown, according to the police report.

The positive results mean the person either discharged a firearm, was in the vicinity of a firearm when it was discharged or handled an item with gunshot primer residue on it, according to the report.

In November, Anderson was offered a deal that included a guilty plea to the felonious assault and the misdemeanor assault charges and an amendment to the mandatory firearm specification prison term to one year from three years.

The minimum total prison time would be nine years.

Reger said at that time he could impose a minimum sentence of 11 years and a maximum of 15 years for all charges.