Charles Nash, on trial in Criminal Court for the murder of Ok-Hui Brown at the Okie Dokie Market in St. Elmo, told investigators on a recording played in court Wednesday that it “seemed like I turned into somebody else.”
“It all just happened so fast,” said Nash on the recording. “It seemed like I turned into some…somebody else, I don’t know.”
The recording was made on the night of the murder after Nash signed a waiver of his rights under the Miranda Law.
His comment was in reference to when the gun went off. He said he went in the store to purchase a bottle of water. He placed the water on the counter and reached in his pocket for the money. That’s when he felt the gun.
On the recording, Nash said he had purchased a gun off the street for $200 because some “dope boy” had been robbed and word on the street was that he had done it. He said he had received a phone call telling him that if he didn’t come up with $10,000 by Monday, his grandmother would be killed. So he bought the gun for protection, he said.
“When I felt the gun, I started thinking of my grandmama again,” Nash said.
“And then you just pulled it on her,” Detective Ken Freeman asked?
“Yeah man,” Nash replied.
“She tried to grab the gun though,” Nash said on the recording. “She tried what?” said Det. Freeman. “Grab the gun,” said Nash.
Nash said, “She…she tried to grab the gun and…and…and I ain’t even know it was no bullets in there like, cause when dude sold it to me I told him I ain’t…I ain’t got no…no bullets or nothin’ so I just got the gun just like for show cause them people out there in the Westside was startin’ to talk crazy and do stuff and I ain’t even know…I ain’t mean for none of that junk to happen. She tried to grab the gun and it just…it shocked me, it…it started…it just started going off, just (inaudible) it was just…I think I heard two shots and I was like what, what the…I ain’t know was up.
“I didn’t kill that lady. They might think I killed her or whatever, but she…she…she…she did herself. She grabbed…she tried to grab the gun and it just started going off and like I ain’t know it was no bullets in there.”
On the recording, Det. Freeman asked Nash, “But you know you’re responsible for a death, right?”
Nash responded, “Man, how…how can I be responsible when she…she…she grabbed the gun. She…she grabbed it, she grabbed it, she…even though I mean yeah I was holding it, but I ain’t…I ain’t know no bullet was in there and she grabbed it and it started going off. She…she did herself. I didn’t mean for none of that to happen.”
Prosecutors have brought into evidence six .380-caliber spent cartridges found at the scene. Also, a search of a closet in the defendant’s apartment turned up a box of .380-caliber ammunition with just three live rounds remaining and another live round in the kitchen. The markings on the bottom of those unfired rounds matched the markings of five of the six spent cartridges recovered from the scene.
Missing from the market at the time of the investigation was the cash register on the counter. When asked, on the recording if he had the cash register when he got to his house, Nash responded, “I don’t remember. I think I threw it out.”
“Where do you think you throwed it to?” Det. Freeman asked.
“Somewhere in St. Elmo,” Nash replied.
Nash agreed on the recording to take the detectives to where he thought he threw the cash register. Det. Freeman testified that the cash register was not where Nash took them. The cash register was discovered 11 days later by a property owner on W. 37th Street in St. Elmo. The property owner called police because he thought it was an unusual thing to find.
Agent Oakley McKinney, from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, testified on latent fingerprint evidence. He said Nash’s fingerprints were not on the 9mm gun (the victim’s gun), or the magazine for the 9mm gun, or on the cash register. Nash’s fingerprints were on the bottle of water he left on the counter. A total of nine fingerprints taken from a white Crown Victoria that Nash allegedly used in the crime were matched to Nash.
Crime Scene Investigator Brian Lockhart testified that from comments made by Nash on his recorded statement that several hundred dollars allegedly taken in the robbery/murder were found in an apartment in Red Bank. Also found in Red Bank was a white Crown Victoria automobile that Nash indicated he was driving at the time of the crime. Under the back seat of the automobile a large amount of loose change was recovered.
District Attorney Bill Cox and his assistant, Neal Pinkston, said that witnesses from the TBI Crime Lab would be testifying Thursday morning, after which time they expect to close.