(UPDATE 6 p.m., Oct. 23)
Benjamin Werner was a son, a brother, a father and a friend, but he also unfortunately was addicted to drugs, a Montgomery County assistant prosecutor told jurors Monday during opening statements of the Quentin Brown murder trial.
And Werner’s addiction led him to come into contact with Brown, who was 17 when he allegedly killed Werner on Nov. 26, 2016 in an alley behind 155 W. Norman Ave. in Dayton.
Brown, now 18, is on trial in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Gregory Singer’s courtroom for murder and other counts for the death of Werner, 32.
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Assistant prosecutor Julie Bruns told jurors that Werner stole a gun and an iPad from a pickup at Miami Valley Gaming in Lebanon and later met with Brown outside a Dayton grocery store.
Brown and Werner had a conversation near the store before Brown and another man drove in one car and Werner followed in another, Bruns said.
Twenty minutes later, a 911 call from a neighbor on West Norman said gunshots had been fired.
Bruns said the other man in the car with Brown told police during a second interview that he was selling marijuana and that Brown agreed to buy the gun Werner had for $150.
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Bruns told jurors that when Brown was arrested the next day, the gun Werner took from a pickup at Miami Valley Gaming was in the vehicle: “Evidence will show that the defendant Quentin Brown is the killer of Benjamin Werner.”
Defense attorney Marshall Lachman told jurors that the story of the other man in the car with Brown changed six or seven times.
“You’re not going to hear any evidence of fingerprints that tie Quentin to the murder,” Lachman said. “You’re not going to have any DNA evidence that ties Quentin to the murder, or any other physical evidence that ties Quentin to this murder.”
Lachman said there were no witnesses and questioned why Brown is the one on trial for murder. Lachman also said the gun stolen from Miami Valley Gaming is not the one used to shoot Werner seven times, asking jurors, “Is there any evidence to firmly convince you that Quentin Brown shot Benjamin Werner?”
Werner’s father, Michael, told this news organization that he wants justice.
“He was a great young man,” Michael Werner said. “He’s got a wife. He’s got a little baby that was 4 months old when he got shot.”
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Michael Werner said he raised his son, gave him his first bath in a turkey roaster and brought him to work in the tree service business as a boy before his son joined the company.
“We argued who was the best. That was our relationship because we worked together,” Werner said. “I’m here to be his voice. He hasn’t got a voice, but his dad does. And his dad’s got a heart and I’m here to show that love.”
The trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday afternoon
Four months after a possession of cocaine conviction in juvenile court, then 17-year-old Quentin L. Brown allegedly shot and killed Benjamin Werner, according to Montgomery County prosecutors.
Brown, 18, is on trial starting today in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court for murder and other counts related to the death of Werner, 32, of Lebanon.
Werner’s body was found outside a car on West Norman Avenue in Dayton on Nov. 26, 2016.
“This juvenile fatally shot a man during a robbery attempt,” Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said in a press release after Brown was indicted. “Clearly he did not benefit from being allowed to participate in the Juvenile Court’s Drug Court instead of being sentenced,” Heck continued in the release.
Jury selection in Judge Gregory Singer’s courtroom is expected to last all morning. A jury view of several sites near where Werner was located is expected before opening statements later today.
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