published Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Jury deliberates in Chattanooga slaying trial

The fate of a 23-year-old Chattanooga woman charged with second-degree murder in a 2010 shooting death depends on whose story the jury believes the most.

Quinisha Brabson, 23, admitted she shot Timothy Nichols on April 8, 2010. She said she felt threatened and feared Nichols would attack her or her female friend.

Nichols had driven to East Chattanooga with his fiancée and another friend to try and trade anti-anxiety pills for crack cocaine.

He spotted Brabson with a group of other women near the corner of Main and Willow streets near midnight.

But on Tuesday Lisa Greenlief, Nichols' fiancée, said that Brabson approached the car and shot Nichols while the man tried to trade the pills for drugs.

The jury began deliberating at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday and is scheduled to continue deliberations this morning in Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern's courtroom.

In closing arguments Tuesday morning, one of Brabson's two attorneys, Lori Miller, repeated what she'd told the jury at the start of the trial Monday -- there wasn't enough evidence to prove murder.

She pointed out major differences between what Greenlief told police shortly after the shooting three years ago and what she said on the stand. Miller also said the police detective failed to ask enough questions or gather enough evidence that would have helped show her client was defending herself.

Prosecutor Brian Finlay returned repeatedly to the physical evidence that Brabson shot Nichols in the back while he was seated in his car with his seatbelt on.

"That's not self-defense, that's murder," he said.

In a recorded police interview, Brabson said she told Nichols that she didn't deal drugs, but he kept harassing her and her friends.

She said that he was getting out of his car when she fired. Aiming at the car tires.

Evidence presented in the trial showed that the bullet went through the driver's headrest, entered Nichols' back and exited his chest. The bullet pierced major arteries, killing Nichols.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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