Man who pleaded guilty in deadly '15 Mother's Day shooting returns to witness stand

VIDEO: Man who pleaded guilty to deadly '15 Mother's Day murder trial returns to stand
Published: Feb. 14, 2018 at 11:44 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 15, 2018 at 6:27 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - In the trial of a teen charged with murder in the 2015 Mother's Day shooting, the court heard testimony from two men also charged in the case.

Kenneth Robinson, 18, is charged with murder, four counts of attempted murder, and possession of a firearm during a violent crime in connection to the shooting death of Kedena Brown, 36, on May 10, 2015.

Both of the witnesses who took the stand Thursday testified today that Robinson did not fire the deadly shot.

One of those witnesses, Keon Anderson, said that the driver, Richard Simmons, pulled the trigger. Simmons also said that was the case.

In testimony, the court heard that Anderson and Robinson both tried to warn Simmons that the Chrysler driven by Kedena Brown was not the same car they were chasing earlier that morning.

Anderson testified Thursday that he had entered a proffer agreement with the Solicitor's Office to provide testimony in this case. That agreement entails Anderson telling the truth about what happened the morning of May 10, 2015.

He says he was firing shots at a Chrysler 300 that morning on Dorchester Road during the chase, but eventually lost sight of it. He says when they turned onto Ashley Phosphate they caught sight of a Chrysler.

"We see a Chrysler, Simmons thought it was the Chrysler," he said. "Me and Robinson tell him, 'No, that's not the right Chrysler, that's a lady.' You could tell it wasn't heading in the right direction. Me and Robinson continued to tell him, 'That ain't the car, that's the wrong car.' He didn't…he still ended up shooting it."

Anderson says Simmons panicked and took off towards a friend's house where they once again tried to tell him it wasn't the right car.

Also on the stand Thursday, Simmons said he was willing to testify in order to hopefully get a minimum sentence with his charges. Simmons pleaded guilty to his murder and four attempted murder charges in January. A sentencing date has not been set.

On Wednesday, Prosecutor Culver Kidd called Richard Simmons, 23, to the stand. Simmons pleaded guilty in January to his charges of murder, four counts of attempted murder and possession of a firearm in this case.

Simmons testified Wednesday that he had gone to Robinson's house on Lawrence Street in the Dorchester-Waylyn neighborhood of North Charleston late May 9 when a car drove and shot at the car he was in along with several people in the area.

Roughly 30 minutes later after dropping the car off at his home, Simmons testified he went back to Robinson's to discuss who may have shot at them. It was then that they heard gunshots nearby, and the group hopped in three different cars.

On the witness stand, Simmons said he drove a Honda CRV, which belonged to his friend Derrontae Holmes, and Robinson and Keon Anderson jumped in with him.

From there Simmons said they followed behind an acquaintance's car, eventually coming across a Chrysler 300. Simmons said the car in front of them started shooting at the Chrysler and that's when a chase ensued.

According to prosecutors that chase started in the Dorchester-Waylyn neighborhood, traveling up Dorchester Road, to Cross County, and eventually onto Ashley Phosphate Road.

Simmons said at some point his car got in front and was chasing the Chrysler 300, but lost sight of it when it turned on to Ashley Phosphate Road. Shortly down the road, he saw a Chrysler 300 nearing a stoplight at the I-26 overpass, and pulled up to the driver's side grabbing Robinson's gun and fired shots into the car, he testified.

"I panicked and took off," Simmons said.

From there Simmons said they drove to a friend's house where others told him that wasn't the right car, but he disagreed. Simmons said he didn't know it was a case of mistaken identity until Brown's death was reported on the news.

Kidd stated the solicitor's office had multiple conversations with Simmons over the last few years and mentioned he had lied to prosecutors about what happened, which included who shot Brown.

During testimony, Simmons said he originally said that Robinson had fired the shots because he had heard Robinson had snitched on him.

During opening statements Tuesday, Kidd said while Robinson may not have fired the shot that killed Brown, he is still responsible for what happened under what's called "the hand of one is the hand of all."

Robinson's interview with authorities

Wednesday morning the court watched a nearly two-hour video of the interview Robinson had with North Charleston Police on May 14, 2015.

In the video, Robinson tells detectives three different accounts of where he was overnight May 10, 2015.

Detectives stated that his GPS ankle monitor showed his whereabouts around North Charleston, placing him at the scene of the shooting on Ashley Phosphate Road.

During the video Robinson told authorities several times he didn't have a gun on him, he was not firing any shots. He also said he was not responsible for Brown's death, Simmons was.

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