ELYRIA — After Nick Masley had punched Jeffrey Brooks in the face three times and saw Brooks suffer a seizure, Masley told police, “Holy crap, I didn’t mean to do that,” according to a videotaped statement he gave to police the day after the fight.
The video of Masley’s statement was shown to jurors on the second day of testimony in his trial. Masley faces charges of murder and felonious assault in connection to the Dec. 12, 2013, death of Brooks, 25, at 183 Delaware Circle.
Prosecutors have said that Masley lured Brooks to the address with the intention of beating him up because he believed Brooks had gotten Masley’s cousin, Kayla Ellis, addicted to heroin.
“There was family suspicion that they were doing some drugs, hardcore drugs,” Masley told police in the video. “My brother Ricky died from that, and that struck a nerve.”
Ellis testified Tuesday that Masley had invited her and Brooks to the residence on Delaware Court to smoke marijuana. The cousins had been close, but they hadn’t seen each much after Ellis began seeing Brooks, Ellis said.
Masley told police he hadn’t actually planned on smoking weed with the two, but he instead had planned to confront Brooks on his suspicions.
After he hit Brooks, Masley told police he realized he “was overdoing it,” according to the video. When Ellis grabbed him and asked him, “What are you doing?” Masley told police he responded, “He got you on drugs, that’s why I did it.”
Masley also told police that Brooks had taken a swing at him, but Elyria Police Sgt. Donald Moss, who was the lead detective on the case, said no other witnesses had said anything about seeing Brooks throw a punch. Police called Masley’s punch a “sucker punch.”
During his testimony Wednesday, Moss said that Ellis had not been honest with police when they first interviewed her.
“Initially she was deceptive in some of the areas,” Moss said. “I had suspicions as related to her drug use. There was some suspicion as to her running down the street; I thought that maybe she’d been getting rid of some evidence.”
When detectives interviewed Ellis a second time, she told them that while she was trying to revive Brooks, who was unconscious, she had taken bags of heroin out of his pocket and threw them in a nearby garbage can. She also told police she and Brooks had used heroin earlier in the day.
When asked by defense attorney Kenneth Lieux why police didn’t charge Ellis or investigate possible drug charges, Moss said “I went on about my investigation of the murder. I was not doing a drug investigation at that point; I was focused on a murder investigation.”
In his opening statements Tuesday, Lieux said he didn’t believe Brooks died from being punched by Masley, but rather died because of the drugs in his system.
During testimony Wednesday afternoon, the chief toxicologist for the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner at the time of Brooks’ death, John Wyman, said the amount of heroin in Brooks’ system wasn’t enough to be lethal. Wyman did say some of the symptoms Brooks showed, though, were similar to those suffered by overdose victims.
After Masley had punched Brooks, Brooks was taken to what is now University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center. He was later flown to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, where he died two days after the incident.
The Cuyahoga County medical examiner ruled the cause of death as homicide.
Testimony in the trial is scheduled to resume 9 a.m. Friday.
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