She recalled watching two men approach the front entrance of Fuller’s Oil Co., the Alexandria gas station Brown and her husband, Kenneth, owned.
“I remember saying, ‘Oh, no. Kenneth,’” Brown said from the stand.
Two of the jurors leaned forward to better hear her speak.
“It just looked suspicious,” she said. “They were wearing hoodies … and they pulled out guns.”
One of those men is on trial this week for his alleged involvement in the 2008 robbery of Brown’s store. Anniston resident Dennis Blake Jackson kept his eyes on the table in front of him, glancing at Brown only occasionally as she testified against him Tuesday.
Jackson is charged with attempted murder and first-degree robbery in the case.
Brown’s voice quickened as she described how afraid she was for her daughter’s life. Melanie Hurst was working the cash register when Jackson demanded she hand over the money, Brown said.
“I wanted to scream, ‘Please don’t hurt her,’” she said. “I was so scared.”
The 2008 incident ended in a gunfight between Kenneth Brown and the robbers, according to testimony from the couple and their daughter as well as a crime scene analysis Calhoun County deputies conducted at the store.
Neither of the store owners or Hurst were injured during the robbery, but the suspects didn’t fare so well.
Takeem Pope, Jackson’s alleged accomplice, died at the scene that night after receiving a gunshot wound to his side. Jackson himself was caught by a Calhoun County deputy near the gas station with a bullet wound in his arm.
Hurst testified Tuesday that she was able to avoid injury during the gunfight by hiding behind a brick wall. Her mother took cover behind an old Coke machine.
“I knew it was over when I heard my daddy scream, ‘Call 911,’” Hurst said.
The defense declined to put any witnesses on the stand or submit any evidence to support Jackson’s case, court officials said.
On cross-examination, the defense attempted to question the credibility of the testimonies of Brown and Hurst. Jackson’s attorney, James Harris, noted that neither Brown nor her daughter were sure Jackson had a gun during the robbery.
“So if you didn’t see a gun in Jackson’s hand, you couldn’t see him shoot at your husband?” Harris asked Brown during her cross-examination.
Brown answered: “Well, I was behind the Coke box by then.”
Harris also pressed Hurst about whether she could be sure Jackson was one of the robbers because both of the suspects had concealed their faces that night with hoodies.
“From my memory that night, I never seen his face,” Hurst said.
But later prosecutors showed the jury two videotaped interviews of Jackson confessing to Calhoun County investigators that he was at least there during the robbery. In the tapes, Jackson tells the investigators he was with Pope because he thought they were just going to “smoke some weed” at a party.
Prosecutors also entered as evidence two pairs of socks that Jackson was wearing when he entered Fuller’s Oil Co. He wore one pair on his feet and another on his hands, according to law enforcement testimony.
Closing arguments in the trial will begin today at 9 a.m. After that, circuit Judge Brian Howell will charge the jury and the jurors will deliberate before handing down a verdict.
Both attempted murder and first-degree robbery are Class A felonies, which carry sentences of no less than 15 years and maximum penalties of up to life in prison.