Security tightened for kidnapping-murder pre-exam

By Ian Perrotta

It looks like details of the kidnapping and murder of Abreeya Brown and Ashley Conaway won’t become available until next week.

On Thursday (April 19) attorneys for the five men charged with their deaths asked for more time to prepare their defense. The preliminary examination was rescheduled for next Tuesday (April 24) at 9:30 a.m.

Brandon Cain, 26, Miguel Rodriguez, 24, Reginald Brown, 24, Jeremy Brown, 19, and Brian Lee, 25, all of Detroit, are charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of torture and two counts of unlawful imprisonment.

On Thursday, Hamtramck’s 31st District Court was packed, full of friends, family and media.
Defense attorneys for the men said they have to review over 1,000 pages of documents , more than 20 DVDs and the accounts of 40 witnesses.

Wayne County prosecutors, objected, however, saying the delay was merely a stall tactic and was a “purposeful” action intended to “intimidate witnesses.”

Cain’s lawyer vehemently objected, but was quickly silenced by 31st District Court Judge Paul Paruk, who seemingly acknowledged the fears of the prosecution.

“Don’t ever interrupt someone who has not interrupted you,” he said. “Given the history of this case, it is of the utmost importance for a speedy trial.”

Paruk went on to weigh the arguments for and against adjourning the trial. After noting that all of the civilian witnesses were present despite receiving “threats,” in the interest of due process he ultimately decided to adjourn the case until next week.

However, he warned the defendants that additional adjournments would not be granted for any reason — even changing lawyers.

As the crowd left the courthouse it was clear that some aspects of the investigation still continue. A number of police officers stood at the entrance of City Hall and took photographs of those leaving the court. It was unclear what their purpose was for, but many people covered their faces regardless.

In related news, another man was arrested in conjunction with the case just minutes before the trial began. Though his identity was not officially released, the man was believed to be the half-brother of one of the murder suspects.

The arrest was the result of a heightened police presence at City Hall, which had been under lockdown since the previous night. Officers noticed the man and took him into custody, said Police Chief Max Garbarino, who declined to give specifics.

“He was here,” he said. “We knew who he was.”

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