Dallas P.D. Make Arrest in Joshua Brown homicide; say botched drug deal took place

The killing of the key witness in the trial of the ex-Dallas police officer who fatally shot Botham Jean last week was the result of a drug deal gone wrong, officials say

Victim Botham Jean’s neighbor Joshua Brown, left, answers questions from Assistant District Attorney LaQuita Long, right, while pointing to a map of the South Side Flats where he lives, while testifying during the murder trial of former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, in Dallas. Authorities say that Brown was killed in a shooting Friday, Oct. 4. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool)

Dallas police say they have arrested one suspect and have warrants for two others connected to the shooting death of Joshua Brown last Friday. Despite rumors that his death was linked to testimony in the trial of Amber Guyger, police now say it was because of a drug deal gone wrong.

The 28-year-old was a key witness in the Guyger trial. After Brown was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds to his lower body, wide speculation began to circulate that his death was in retaliation for testifying against the ex-Dallas cop, who last week was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the murder of Botham Jean.

READ MORE: Key witness in Botham Jean murder conviction slain outside home

But as police investigated, a different story began to emerge. At a press conference, Asst. Police Chief Avery Moore identified the suspects as Jacquerious Mitchell, 20; Michael Mitchell, 32; and Thaddeous Green, 22.

Moore said the suspects had traveled from Alexandria, La., to Dallas to purchase drugs from Brown. According to Jacquerious Mitchell, Green had contacted Brown for the purchase. But what he described as a “physical altercation” begins between Green and Brown.

As Jacquerious gets out of his vehicle, Brown shot him in the chest, he told officers. Once he fell into the vehicle, he said he heard two gunshots, which were of Green shooting Brown in the lower body.

Green then took Brown’s backpack and the gun he used to fire at Jacquerious and the three sped off, with Michael Mitchell as the getaway driver. Jacquerious was dropped off by the two at a local hospital where he remains in police custody and in critical condition. Dallas police later issued warrants for the arrest of all three, who now face capital murder charges. Michael Mitchell and Green have not yet been apprehended.

Officials say 12 pounds of marijuana, 149 grams of THC cartridges, and about $4,000 in cash were found in Brown’s apartment in a search.

READ MORE: Why fear that the slain Botham Jean case witness was targeted makes sense

At the time Jean was killed, Brown lived in the apartment across the hall from Jean. He had only met him earlier in the day on Sept 6, 2018. But later that night, when he was returning home, he heard loud voices. According to his courtroom testimony, it sounded like “two people meeting each other by surprise” even though their voices were inaudible. Immediately after, he said, gunshots rang out.

S. Lee Merritt, attorney for Jean’s family said Brown was afraid to testify and feared that “someone would try and come finish the job,” he said. He had been shot and wounded once before in an altercation last November in which another man was killed.

Initially as the Guyger trial began to materialize, he left for California to avoid testimony, according to local station WFAA, but was threatened with jail time if he did not return. His testimony proved crucial to a jury finding Guyger guilty of murder and then sentencing her to prison.

But Merritt also wanted Brown to testify again in the civil suit against the Dallas Police Department for Jean’s death. “When we move forward with our civil trial, he was one of the first people we planned on calling,” Merritt said. “And now is no longer available.”

In a tweet after the arrest was announced, he said that he’s encouraging the Dallas Police Department to recuse itself from the investigation.

Brown’s family has remained silent on the issue since he was killed. But in a statement through Merritt’s office they say they are also encouraging to DPD to release the investigation to “an alternate investigative agency.”