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Cops and Courts

Cousin testifies at Nick Masley's murder trial

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    Defense attorney Ken Lieux questions Nick Masley's cousin Kayla Ellis about the events that led to the death of Jeffrey Brooks.


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    Nick Masley leaves the defense table during a break in his trial Tuesday afternoon.



ELYRIA — Nick Masley lured Jeffrey Brooks to Colonial Oaks mobile home park with the intention of beating him up, a beating that ultimately took his life, according to prosecutors.

Opening statements in the trial of Masley, 27, of Elyria, took place Tuesday morning in the courtroom of Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi. Masley is accused of murder and felonious assault in connection with the 2013 death of Brooks, 25, of Wellington.

While the state contends Masley intentionally lured Brooks to the residence, defense attorney Kenneth Lieux said Masley wanted to find out what was going on with his cousin, Kayla Ellis, who was engaged to Brooks. Lieux said Masley suspected Brooks had gotten Ellis, 24, addicted to heroin.

While Brooks and Ellis were at the residence, Masley believed he had confirmed his suspicions when he tried to get into a bathroom Brooks and Ellis were in, Lieux said. Through the partially open door, Masley said he could see heroin.

During her testimony Tuesday, Ellis said she and Brooks were separating and packaging the heroin to sell it to others while in the bathroom at the residence, but she testified they did not shoot up while there.

But Zachary Seybert, who lived at the residence and was a friend of Masley’s, disputed her testimony. He told the jurors he could smell heroin in the bathroom, found melted heroin residue in the bathroom sink and found a spoon that may have been used to cook heroin in the bathroom.

Seybert testified that he washed the residue down the sink and threw the spoon away before police could find it.

Ellis, who was transported from Lorain County Jail in order to testify, said she and Masley used to be very close, along with her sister and Masley’s brother, Ricky. She said they stopped seeing each other regularly once she became involved with Brooks.

When Masley’s brother died of a heroin overdose about a year prior to Brooks’ death, Ellis said she did not attend the funeral. She is in jail on contempt of court for failing to participate in mandated drug treatment, according to Lieux.

On the day of the fight, Ellis said she and Brooks ran into Masley, and Masley invited the two of them to Seybert’s home to smoke marijuana. Ellis testified that she and Brooks agreed to meet Masley and friends later, after they returned some items at the former Macy’s department store at Midway Mall.

The two didn’t go to Macy’s, though, she said, but instead went to buy heroin from a man in the parking lot at the mall. After that, they shot up a small amount of heroin in the parking lot of Home Depot before going to Seybert’s residence.

Seybert testified that Masley was upset and felt that Brooks had gotten Ellis addicted to heroin and felt Masley may have wanted to fight with Brooks.

When cross examined by Lieux, though, Seybert said he had told police in 2013 that he didn’t hear Masley say anything about beating Brooks up.

When Seybert realized Brooks and Ellis were in the bathroom together at his residence, he said he told them they needed to leave, which they did moments later.

When Brooks walked out, Masley reportedly punched him in the face, knocking him unconscious. Witnesses say Masley then punched Brooks two more times. Seybert said he didn’t believe Brooks had done anything to antagonize Masley prior to the assault.

Brooks’ right eye was swollen and his nose was bleeding when police were called, and he complained of pain in his head. Brooks told police he had used heroin about two hours before Masley assaulted him.

Brooks was taken to what is now University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center and later to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. He died two days after the assault.

Testimony in the trial is scheduled to resume this morning at 9 a.m.

Contact Scott Mahoney at 329-7146 or Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.

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