If you witness a crime, here’s what to do
A Sedgwick County jury deliberated less than two hours Tuesday before convicting a Wichita man of all counts for his roles in the city’s first two homicides of 2013.
Shawn Brown, 21, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Shawn Rhone and Adji Tampone, who were both shot to death in drug-related crimes during the first week of the year.
During the trial, prosecutors said Rhone, 42, was shot during an attempted robbery on Jan. 2, 2013, after being lured to a vacant house in the 1700 block of Northeast Parkway to sell marijuana.
They said Tampone, 29, was found shot to death in his home in the 700 block of South Rutan on Jan. 3, 2013. Wichita police said Tampone was killed because he owed Brown $1,000 for crack cocaine that Tampone had taken from him.
Brown’s brother, Jerone Brown, 20, was convicted this month of two counts of first-degree murder in the same killings. A third brother, Milo Brown, 22, was sentenced this month to life in prison for his role in Rhone’s murder. Milo Brown was not charged with taking part in Tampone’s killing.
Police said the brothers drove to the scene of the Rhone killing in a 2003 Cadillac DeVille that was taken from Tampone’s home after he was killed.
Defense lawyer Mike Brown told the jury in his closing argument that Tampone was a drug user who owed money to several dealers, any one of whom could have killed him. He said that when his client dropped his brother off at the scene of Rhone’s killing, he had no way of knowing that there was going to be an attempted robbery.
“One’s mere presence doesn’t make one involved in an incident,” he said.
Prosecutor Trinity Muth told the jury that Shawn Brown told detectives several lies that included an initial denial that took Tampone’s Cadillac and an initial denial that he was at the scene of Rhone’s killing. Brown later admitted taking the car and being at the scene, Muth said.
Muth also said that when Brown tried to pin Tampone’s murder on another man, he inadvertently mentioned that Tampone had been killed with a .25-caliber handgun.
“He knew what the murder weapon was before the Wichita Police Department did,” Muth said. “Why? Because he did it.”
A sentencing date has not been set.