Defendant testifies on own behalf in murder trial

By Joe Gorman


Kneeling in front of jurors in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, Jermaine Tubbs re-enacted his version of events in the shooting death of Michael Brooks.

On Wednesday, Tubbs, 28, showed jurors and Judge Anthony D’Apolito what he said happened April 20, 2017, when Brooks, 52, was shot and killed at a DuPont Circle apartment complex.

Prosecutors said Brooks was at the North Side complex to help his daughter, who lived with Tubbs, leave the apartment, when Tubbs shot and killed Brooks.

Tubbs said Brooks was drunk and Tubbs was knocked to the ground with a blow to the face from a cane he was carrying. Under prodding from defense attorney Doug Taylor, Tubbs got off the witness stand and on the floor.

Tubbs said he was knocked to his knees, his hands covering his head because of the blows he said he was receiving from Brooks’ cane, when he reached across his body for a gun in his waist and then fired two shots, striking Brooks in the head.

“I feared for my life,” Brooks said. “I didn’t know what else to do, so I shot from the ground.”

Brooks was shot twice and died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Testimony in the case began Tuesday after a jury was selected Monday. Closing arguments are expected today.

The defense contends Brooks was drunk and he egged on a confrontation with Tubbs, who said he was inside an apartment on his phone when Brooks’ daughter walked outside and shortly after he heard a knock on the door. Tubbs testified when he answered Brooks was at the door and was instantly “in my face.”

“I could smell alcohol on his breath,” Tubbs testified.

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