On this special explosive and in-depth edition of Light ‘Em Up we investigate the facts of a cold-blooded murder.
Our guest today is Ms. Kimkeshia Johnson-Byron. She’s the mother of Ter’Rion Dunn, a young man who has been charged with capital murder in the robbery-shooting death of Brandon Howard. We dig deep and investigate behind the scenes and ask why is Ter’Rion Dunn being charged with capital murder – when we believe he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time?
It is scary, this can happen to you. “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This case has kept me up at night. I have prayed and prayed over this and spent hours over the case file and given it much thought. With our Criminal Justice Foundation called “Justice Rolls Down”, we wanted to lend our voice to this cause where we could.
Something doesn’t sit well with me. Something in this specific case is off, way off!
The fact pattern is: Monday, December 2, 2019 was just another day in Butler, Alabama, 35 miles or so southeast of Meridian, Mississippi.
Thoughts were starting to turn towards Christmas. The “Christmas on Courthouse Square” parade and festivities were a few days away.
All that was about to forever change for a number of young people, their families and friends. Ter’Rion Dunn goes over to visit a friend, Brandon Howard. Just before 9 p.m. a knock came on a door at the Bedford Pines Apartments.
Allegedly, it is 23-year-old Ollie Curtis III. He’s armed and there to rob Brandon Howard.
A struggle ensues, Howard is fatally shot. According to subsequent statements, Curtis then put his gun to Ter’Rion Dunn’s head, demanding money and drugs. He threatened harm to Dunn’s grandma if he didn’t comply.
It was the 1st murder in Choctaw County, Alabama, on the 336th day of the year.
● What do you do when the system is so corrupt that it would permit a glaring conflict of interest whereby the prosecuting attorney is the brother of his court appointed defense attorney?
● You know you are innocent, but no one will listen to you. What do you do if you are wrongly accused --- having your liberty robbed from you?
● The alleged gunman was granted and posted a $150,000 bond last March. Ter’Rion Dunn -- who had no knowledge of the robbery before or during -- was only visiting with a friend but has been stuck in prison – charged with capital murder!
Things like this happen all across our country, but most especially in wee little southern towns like Butler, Alabama. Race and class play a role in everything in the United States of America.
We have to pause for a moment and remember where all this is happening.
Alabama, one of the poorest states in the union. A state where >300 African-Americans were lynched from 1877 to 1943. A state whose population is just over a quarter Black, where >1/2 the people in custody are Black, according to Alabama Appleseed.
Alabama makes consistent choices that prioritize punishment and deprivation over prosperity. The consequences of refusing to invest in education, healthcare, and equitably distributed infrastructure have been devastating for many communities. But make no mistake: by design and in practice, those consequences are borne most brutally by Black Alabamians. The details of this case are disturbing and troubling. If “Justice delayed is justice denied”, this case is crying out for justice. A young man’s life hangs in the balance.
Tune in and be enlightened, educated and empowered!
All suspects are innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.
Thanks so much!
Phil Rizzo Executive Producer