New details about the murders of teenage twin brothers emerged in court today during a preliminary hearing for the four suspects charged in the double slaying.
The suspects are accused of killing 17-year-old Jonathan and Jeremie Berry and trying to kill the boys' mother.
Birmingham homicide detective Jeff Steel was called to 736 Attlla Street in Wylam early in the morning of June 28.
Inside, he found the Berry twins dead. Seventeen-year-old Jeremie was on the couch, his brother, Jonathan, on the floor.
Steel testified about the case Thursday as four suspects in the case, Stanley Chatman, Dayjuan Tuggle, Quentin Nixon and Crystal Nelson, looked on.
Chatman, Nixon, and Tuggle are all charged with capital murder in the case. Nelson is charged with two counts of felony murder.
On the stand, Steele recounted the statement he'd gotten from one of the twins' relatives. The witness described sitting on the porch with the twins when a car pulled up.
According to the witness, three men got out with guns, ordered the children inside and asked for their mother and stepfather, who weren't there.
As two of the masked men ran off to search the adults' room, another man held the children at gun point. Suddenly, a car pulled up. It was the twin's mother Latasha.
The witness said the two masked suspects ran out and begin shooting at her, then the third man turned and fatally shot the twins. The witness would later identify that shooter as Chatman.
Suspect Crystal Nelson was outside in the getaway car. She would later tell police Chatman asked her to take him and two other men she didn't know to the home of a drug dealer in Wylam.
They were going to "shortchange him" and said she'd get something out of it. That alleged drug dealer was the twins' stepfather.
Nelson says she dropped the men off and about 20 minutes later, they ran out, began shooting at Latasha Berry, then hopped back in her car.
Nelson says that's when two of the men asked Chatman why he had shot the boys. Chatman told them he did so because he was bare-faced and didn't have on a mask.
After the hearing, Crystal Nelson's attorney told the judge she had concerns for her client's safety.
She says one of the co-defendants in the case had sent a message through a jail trustee telling Nelson she was a dead woman.
Also today in court, there was testimony given in which two of the suspects said they were going to kill Nelson shortly after the shootings, but she was already in custody.
The judge said she would speak with jail supervisors and make sure the matter was addressed.
Copyright 2013 WBRC. All rights reserved.
1720 Valley View Drive