‘At that moment, I was not thinking’: What a Dayton man representing himself in a murder trial said in his testimony

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Accused killer Chuckie Lee ??€” the third defendant and the one police said pulled the trigger in the shooting death of Taylor Brandenburg ??€” is representing himself in his murder trial.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A Dayton man admitted to throwing the first punch at a bar fight and possibly firing the last shot that killed Taylor Brandenburg on March 12, 2017. He also told a Montgomery County Common Pleas Court jury that he was a drug dealer, has been shot 11 times and that his own son died at 15 years old.

Representing himself on murder and other charges, Chuckie Lee, 40, on Thursday tearfully described what happened leading up to the death of Brandenburg, 20, who was babysitting at the Huffman Avenue home. Closing arguments in Lee’s murder trial are scheduled for this morning.

Lee, who admitted to selling cocaine and heroin and dealing drugs since he was 11 years old, testified that when he got to The Glass Hat he saw a woman who hadn’t paid a drug debt to a co-defendant. Lee said he told the woman that there was no problem between them, but that the woman’s daughter was not to call his phone anymore.

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Lee said he didn’t see Brandenburg and that his anger — and later a Glock with a 50-round drum — was aimed at Brandenburg’s cousin Ricky Mayes Jr., who Lee said provoked him at The Glass Hat bar by hiking up his pants, calling him the N-word and saying it was his family’s bar.

Lee testified that he threw the first punch in self-defense and that he got hit with pool sticks, a pool ball, a pool rack, fists and feet before he and his party left the bar.

Lee also said he went along with co-defendant Evans Cassell’s plan to get guns from a U-Haul facility and Kara Parisi-King’s idea to go to the Huffman house and fire bullets from a 50-shot drum on a Glock pistol.

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Lee described getting back to Huffman, seeing Mayes, his jaw hurting and being mad.

“I wanted to hurt him bad,” Lee said of Mayes, a current Montgomery County Jail inmate who testified earlier Thursday about finding Brandenburg’s body. “I wanted to do something to him.”

When asked on cross examination if he could have just gone home after the bar fight, Lee said, “At that moment, I was not thinking. I was not really talking. I was angry.”

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Lee said he didn’t see Brandenburg when he and Cassell shot a combined 37 times.

“I do remember going to that corner,” Lee said. “And when I looked up, I seen Ricky. I didn’t see anybody else. And I shot. We both shot. And we continued to shoot.”

As for Brandenburg, Lee said her death was “tragic,” apologized to her family and said that “I didn’t do it on purpose.”

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Asked by a prosecutor on cross examination, Lee said, “I definitely feel responsibility. I definitely got regret.”

Parisi-King was sentenced to 15 years to life while Cassell was sentenced to 18 years to life. Lee faces a life sentence if he’s convicted of murder and decades in prison even if the jury finds him guilty of some lesser-included offenses.

“Looking back on it, I wish like hell I wouldn’t have been that angry,” Lee said. “I wish like hell things didn’t turn out like they did because I didn’t want her life to end like that and I didn’t want my life to end like that.”

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