UPDATE: Man convicted for murder wants new trial after court reversal
UPDATE: After heated testimony Wednesday morning, a hearing determining whether Adam Braseel will get a new trial in the murder of Malcolm Burrows is set to continue July 31st.
Braseel was convicted for the crime in 2007. His conviction has already been overturned once and Braseel was supposed to get a new trial. That decision was reversed by the Circuit Court of Appeals.
Braseel’s legal team, led by attorney Alex Little, brought a new petition Wednesday in an attempt to get a re-trial.
The team presented evidence today before Judge Justin Angel at the Grundy County courthouse.
The new evidence centers around the discovery of fingerprints at the scene that the defense says belong to a man named Kermit Bryson. Bryson died in 2008.
One witness, Elizabeth Rector, testified that Bryson told her shortly after Burrows’ 2006 murder that he was the one who killed Burrows. She didn’t tell anyone until 2018.
Another key witness was former Sergeant Michael Brown, who responded to the initial scene in January of 2006. Brown says he was never asked to testify in the original trial.
Wednesday morning, he testified that he wrote up a report stating he was the one who found Burrows’ body and that he also found a wallet on the body. He said this conflicted with previous beliefs that the murder was motivated by robbery. Brown’s original police report, which he says he wrote and submitted a few days after the murder, cannot be found.
The defense plans to bring in an expert witness to testify on the new fingerprint evidence in the case. The state will also bring forward their witnesses when the hearing continues on July 31st.
PREVIOUS STORY: A local sheriff said a murder case that happened more than a decade ago deserves a fair look.
Adam Braseel is behind bars for life after being convicted of killing Malcolm Burrows in 2007.
But Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum said new evidence makes him wonder if the wrong person is behind bars.
Sheriff Shrum recently sat down with Braseel at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex. He said he wanted to hear directly from Braseel's mouth that he did not kill Burrows.
"I just asked him point blank, 'Are you the man?' And he adamantly said he was not the man. My second question to him was this, 'If you didn't do it, who did?' And he doesn't know," Shrum said.
Braseel has said those words for more than a decade despite the conviction that's sent him to prison for life.
Braseel's sister talked to us about the meeting last week.
"I think he came to get some clarity in him, because I can't imagine what he's heard. But once he's reading all the facts, and he knows it's not adding up," Christina Braseel said.
Shrum, who was not with the department at the time of the murder, believes the case wasn't investigated properly and said new evidence could mean the wrong person is behind bars.
"Why do we not want Mike Brown to testify in this case? Why did it take 12 years to get a fingerprint back from the TBI Crime Lab? Why? Let's answer some of those questions," Shrum added.
The case surrounding Braseel has been circumstantial, mainly centering around two witnesses identifying Braseel as the suspect. But last week, when Channel 3 learned that fingerprint belonged to Kermit Bryson, a man who killed a deputy and committed suicide a year after Burrows' murder.
The assistant district attorney said he shared the new evidence involving the fingerprint to simply provide the information.
He said sharing it does not mean his office considers the new person named to be a suspect.
"There was more indicators that Kermit was there, I believe, than Adam," Sheriff Shrum said.
Strong words coming from a sheriff, but Shrum said it's a case that deserves a fair look.
"If he's still guilty based on that evidence, he's guilty. But if he's not, then he needs to be let go," he added.
A judge will hear the new evidence and arguments from both sides during a hearing this summer.
Sheriff Shrum said he will be there.