Judge hears defense requests in attempted homicide case
Eagle Staff Writer
October 29, 2014
After being accused of shooting a man at a busy city intersection, Hassan “Money” Lamar Brack left Butler and was arrested in Philadelphia. And while in the Butler County Prison, the defendant allegedly made an intimidating phone call to the man he shot. Defense attorney Patrick Nightingale, who represents the 28-year-old defendant, said those details should not be told to a jury when Brack has a trial. “It’s more prejudicial than probative,” Nightingale argued to Butler County Judge Timothy McCune on Wednesday. But Assistant District Attorney B.T. Fullerton told the judge he plans to tell a jury about both circumstances as part of his case against Brack because it bolsters the identification of the shooter. And, Fullerton argued, the actions demonstrate the defendant’s “consciousness of guilt.” City police allege Brack was arguing with 27-year-old Brannon Irvin at a city bar Aug. 19. Later that day, at about 7:30 p.m., Brack allegedly got out of a sport utility vehicle at East Cunningham and South McKean streets, came up to another vehicle that Irvin was riding in and shot Irvin in the chest. Irvin was treated at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh for life-threatening injuries, including a collapsed right lung. He underwent three surgeries and was released two weeks later. While waiting resolution of the case, Brack on March 17 allegedly called Irvin from the jail and allegedly offered him money not to testify at his trial. But when the victim balked, according to documents, Brack repeatedly called him a “rat” and told him to “just watch your body out there” and “my folks is on go time.” Folks, police believe, is a reference to Brack’s gang and “go time” means the defendant’s gang will target Irvin if he testifies. Brack is charged with intimidation of a witness. Nightingale is asking the courts to separate the allegations into two trials: one for the alleged shooting and one for the alleged call. In addition to attempted homicide, Brack in the shooting incident is charged with aggravated assault, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, illegal possession of a firearm and reckless endangerment. Nightingale has asked the judge to dismiss the attempted homicide charge alleging prosecutors cannot prove Brack intended to kill Irvin. But Fullerton responded by saying, under state law, use of a deadly weapon on a vital part of the body can be weighed as intent to kill. The judge did not rule on any of the defense’s requests. Instead he gave the defense attorney 30 days to supplement his opinions in writing. Then, prosecutors would have an additional 30 days to respond. Because of that, Brack’s November trial date was postponed. The next possible trial date for the case would be in February. Meantime, Brack remains in the Butler County Prison unable to post $1 million bail.