2008 homicide in Grand Rapids comes to court

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A family has been waiting for the day when someone would appear in court charged with the murder of 19-year-old Richard Dannah, an Ottawa Hills High School graduate.

On Tuesday, more than 20 family and friends watched as the evidence was laid out against 32-year-old Derrick Brown.

As he entered the 61st District Court in Grand Rapids using a walker, Brown is six years into a 30 to 70-year prison sentence for a 2012 armed robbery and home invasion.

But if Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Bonnie Prevette proves her case, Brown will never leave prison.

In testimony during a probable cause hearing, witnesses described the scene on Adams Street just east of Madison Avenue, where an after-hours party was approaching dawn on May 31, 2008.

In the basement of the home, the dice were very kind to Keven Harmon, known as “Boo-man,” who estimates he made $6,000 in a house-sanctioned craps game.

He was warned by the people running the game that he could be the target of a robbery.

Harmon said as he walked out of the house with his pockets filled with cash, a man approached him, firing a gun until it was empty and clicked the empty firearm, never hitting his intended victim.

“The clip was empty when he was done because I heard a click, click,” Harmon said.

Multiple gunshots then rang out, one of which police believe struck Dannah.

Police found four 40-mm shell casings at the scene along with six 9-mm casings.

Medical Examiner Stephen Cohle said the shot entered from behind and severed his aorta leading to his almost instantaneous death.

Yolanda “Kitty” Winfield said she cradled Dannah in her arms as he gasped for breath.

Winfield said that Brown, the father of her child, told her to leave before the shooting started.

All of the witnesses say Brown was there, but none say they saw him fire the shots at Dannah, although witness Marcus Merritt said that while they were sharing a cell at Jackson prison that Brown said admitted to firing a gun while at the scene and he “probably hit him.”

The hearing is expected to wrap up Wednesday afternoon, after which Judge Jennifer Faber will determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to circuit court for trial.

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