Home invasion trial spills into day two

Published 8:44 pm Monday, September 16, 2013

James Freeman

James Freeman


The state rested its case Monday for a home invasion trial that headed into a second day in Beaufort County Superior Court. A verdict is expected today.

James Darnelle Freeman, 23, is accused of breaking in to the home of brother and sister Allen and Sayida Brooks on West 11th Street the night of April 12, 2012. According to the prosecution, Freeman, along with another man who remains unidentified, knocked on the door of the Brooks residence, then one forced his way in and began beating Allen Brooks with a firearm, while the other remained just outside the door. Witnesses testified both men were wearing either masks or shirts wrapped around their heads to disguise their identities. Allen Brooks was treated for lacerations to his head at Vidant Beaufort Hospital. He would later testify that several hundred dollars was stolen from his pockets that night, though he did not inform police of that fact when the incident occurred, according to testimony.

Sayida Brooks testified once she fled the house, she witnessed the two men running down the street then saw a green car with plastic in the place of the rear windshield window drive away.

Det. Jesse Dickinson, with the Washington Police Department, testified the car — a Mercury Cougar — was traced to a Jamesville address, but no connection was made to Freeman.

According to Sayida Brooks, Freeman was known to both Brooks, and on the witness stand recounted a conversation she had with Freeman shortly after the break-in, in which she asked Freeman to say “Come over here,” as the perpetrator said to her when she went to see what was happening to her brother that night. Det. Dean Watson said on the stand that in May of 2012, when he had taken over the case, Sayida Brooks told him she was positive Freeman was the man who had beaten her brother.

Monday, Sayida Brooks told Assistant District Attorney Ray Cameron her certainty Freeman was the one wielding the weapon was an eight on a scale of 1 to 10.

“If I could have seen his whole face, I would have been 100 percent sure,” she told the jury.

Freeman’s attorney Don Stroud made a motion to have the charges — burglary with intent to commit larceny and assault with a deadly weapon causing serious injury — dismissed citing lack of evidence. Superior Court Judge Wayland Sermons Jr. denied the motion.

Sermons said the case has caused concern as there is no other identification of Freeman or the other man by any evidence other than the Brooks’ alleged recognition of Freeman’s voice. Since there is precedent in state law that voice recognition can be used for identification purposes, the jury will have to decide whether it is enough to determine their verdict in this case.

Closing arguments will be heard this morning.