NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KETK) — Two men were sentenced to 24 years in prison in connection to the 2017 home invasion and murder of Joey Gipson in Nacogdoches. Another man was sentenced to 25 years in connection to the same murder.
Patrick Hughey and Rassium Franklin were sentenced to 24 years in prison for aggravated robbery, according to District Attorney Andrew Jones. Jamal Brown was sentenced to 25 years in prison for murder, the DA said.
Law enforcement said on Jan. 10, 2017, Gipson was shot and killed in a home invasion. According to officials, GPS tracking of cell phones concluded that Hughey, Franklin and Brown were all in the same vehicle near the time of the home invasion and shooting.
Another man, Kasey Brown, who officials said was involved, was sentenced to life in prison without parole in September for capital murder.
Officials offered to plead Kasey Brown to aggravated robbery, and “his attorney did an excellent job of ensuring his client was made aware of the risks, the law and the evidence, should Kasey Brown choose to take it to trial,” according to the DA.
Kasey rejected the offer made by the state and requested a trial, resulting in a life sentence without parole on a charge of capital murder.
According to officials, the four men planned to steal money and drugs during the home invasion. Officials said Kasey told them that Jamal was the shooter and that he demanded that Gipson “stay down” and tell him where the money was during the home invasion, but that he continued to get out of bed so Jamal shot him.
Autopsy results indicated that the shots fired by Jamal Brown penetrated the left portion of Joey Gipson’s chest, traveled through his left lung, severing his aortic arch and larynx, entered his right lung, and exited through the right side of his back, according to the DA.
“But for the hard work and diligence of the Nacogdoches Police Department — gathering evidence, tracking down leads however remote, and connecting all the pieces of the crime together — the identity of these men and their involvement in this crime might never have been known. The resolution of this crime is due solely to their dogged pursuit of justice,” said Jones.
Note: A mugshot of Jamal Brown was not available.
“The burglary, robbery, and murder of Joey Gipson occurred on the 9th of January, 2017. Nacogdoches Police Department combed through the scene and questioned witnesses, but couldn’t develop any leads on suspects at that time. On the 10th of January, 2017, police responded to a call of evidence located on the loop linked to the crime scene for the homicide: paperwork and purses. Among that evidence there was a water bill addressed to the victim’s house, located inside of a purse. The purses and water bill are identified by the mother of the victim’s children, who was in the same bed when the victim was shot, who stated that the paperwork was inside one of the purses that was hanging in the bedroom and taken during the crime. The purses are swabbed for DNA and water bills are analyzed for prints. The water bills are submitted to DPS for fingerprint analysis on the 23rd of March, 2017. On the 27th of September, 2017, a lab result came back from DPS to NPD, identifying a print belonging to Kasey Rashad Brown. Upon learning of the print match, NPD meets with the mother of the victim’s children about whether she knew Kasey Brown: she says she did not. She could not identify any of the parties who committed the crime. Further investigation involved obtaining additional information about Kasey Brown, like a cell phone number and email address. Upon receiving that information, NPD obtains GPS history for that cell phone, showing that Kasey left Houston and traveled to Nacogdoches on the night of the murder and then traveled back to Houston. Using that information, police were able to see when that cell phone pinged a tower near a traffic camera on Hwy. 59, both heading north and again heading back south. Using that information and those times, NPD looked for any vehicles matching the description of the vehicle observed outside the victim’s house on the night of the murder (a black Dodge or Ford pick-up). They find a match on the traffic camera to a black Dodge pickup heading north on 59 around the time Kasey’s phone pings a tower near the camera, and the same truck heading south on 59 around the time Kasey’s phone again pings a tower near the camera. NPD runs the plate for the vehicle and it comes back registered to Rassium Franklin. NPD obtains cell phone information for Rassium Franklin, and looks at his GPS history, which matches Kasey’s travel pattern, and is strongly indicative of Rassium Franklin being in the truck with Kasey Brown. NPD then cross-references cell phone numbers between the two phones to see if there are any common phone numbers between the two phones around the time of the murder. Law enforcement find a phone number that is associated with both Kasey and Rassium, this number is determined to be linked to Patrick Hughey: who police knew had ties to Nacogdoches. They obtain Hughey’s GPS history through that cell phone number for the night of the murder and find that it tracks with both Kasey and Franklin. They obtained arrest warrants for all three, on the 11th of September, 2018. Kasey is arrested in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana. Investigators with NPD travel to St. Martin Parish, Louisiana to interview Kasey Brown. Kasey initially denies everything, but when confronted with the evidence, he eventually comes out with everything to include his involvement in the crime. In addition to Kasey Brown, Rassium Franklin, and Patrick Hughey, Kasey states that a fourth party was present: Jamal Brown (no relation to Kasey Brown). This was the first time law enforcement learned that a fourth person was involved in the offense. Kasey states that Jamal Brown was the shooter, Patrick Hughey planned the burglary/robbery (dope rip) and that he stayed in the truck. Franklin and Kasey Brown went into the house with Jamal Brown to steal money and drugs, only there wasn’t any money and only very little drugs in the form of hydroponic marijuana. Kasey further states that Jamal told the victim, Joey Gipson, to “stay down” and demanded to know where the money was located. The victim continued to get out of his bed, so Jamal Brown shot him. The autopsy results indicate that the round fired by Jamal Brown penetrated the left portion of Joey Gipson’s chest, traveled through his left lung, severing his aortic arch and larynx, entered his right lung, and exited through the right side of his back. Kasey states that he, Jamal Brown, and Rassium Franklin then gathered up items and fled the scene, jumping in the truck operated by Patrick Hughey. Kasey Brown advised that Patrick Hughey didn’t go into the house because he would be recognized as he was the narcotics supplier for Joey Gipson and, therefore, known to Gipson. Detectives with NPD then interview Patrick Hughey who says nothing. They identify Jamal Brown through Kasey, run GPS history on the phone associated with Jamal Brown around the time of the murder (to confirm his location with the others), and obtain a warrant for Jamal Brown. Jamal is arrested, and detectives with NPD interview Jamal; however, Jamal Brown also says nothing.
Because the only evidence we had for Jamal Brown and Patrick Hughey was a co-defendant statement made by Kasey Brown and GPS information for their phones, there was a legitimate and serious concern that insufficient, admissible corroborating evidence existed to prove to a jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Jamal Brown and Patrick Hughey were sufficiently connected as parties to the offense. Statements, like Kasey’s, when used against co-defendants must be sufficiently corroborated with some evidence that connects that co-defendant with the offense committed, and co-defendant statements cannot be used to corroborate one another without independent corroborating evidence. The evidence must be more than that an offense was committed or that a party was present, before, during, or after the commission of the offense. While GPS history put Jamal and Hughey in the area and corroborated Kasey’s statement, it did not corroborate Kasey’s statement to the degree that it showed Jamal or Hughey committing a crime. Knowing this, we pushed as hard as we could to get as lengthy a sentence as we could given the evidence issues on both Jamal Brown and Patrick Hughey.
With regard to Rassium Franklin, he did provide a confession, but not one as thorough and detailed as the one provided by Kasey Brown. And, importantly, co-defendant statements cannot be used to corroborate one another without independent corroborating evidence, so we would still need additional evidence corroborating both statements that linked Franklin to the commission of the crime, and the evidence must amount to more than mere presence.
As for Kasey Brown, we had to link his confession to some evidence that he was involved to sustain a conviction and get around the rule of corpus delicti, which simply means that a crime was committed by someone. And, in Texas, this requires independent corroborating evidence beyond a defendant’s confession linking him to the crime (essentially, to defeat any claim that a defendant was coerced to confess or gave a false confession). Here, we had GPS information like the others, which corroborated Kasey Brown’s location, but not the crime; however, the independent corroborating evidence that he was a party to the crime was his fingerprint found on the water bill addressed to the victim’s residence, and, because it was Kasey’s own statement, the witness in bed with the victim at the time of the murder can be used to corroborate Kasey’s version of events, provided the witness’s statement and Kasey’s statement are sufficiently similar, even though the witness couldn’t identify any of the parties involved in the crime.
Again, however, if Kasey’s confession is to be believed, he did not intend or have any knowledge that Jamal Brown would murder the victim. Given the level of Kasey Brown’s involvement and that he had zero criminal history, we offered to plead him to Aggravated Robbery, and his attorney did an excellent job of ensuring his client was made aware of the risks, the law, and the evidence, should Kasey Brown choose to take it to trial. Kasey Brown expressed, a couple of times, on the record, that he acknowledged the offer made by the state and chose to reject that offer and requested a trial.
Based on the law regarding co-conspirator parties under 7.02 of the Texas Penal Code, in conjunction with the facts and the evidence, there wasn’t any other decision a rational jury could make in the trial against Kasey Brown. And when the charge is capital murder, and the state is not seeking the death penalty, there is only one punishment: life without parole. Kasey Brown was found guilty of the offense of Capital Murder by a jury and was sentenced to Life Without Parole. As for the others, Jamal Brown received a sentence of 25 years for the offense of Murder, and Patrick Hughey and Rassium Franklin each received a sentence of 24 years for the offense of Aggravated Robbery.
But for the hard work and diligence of the Nacogdoches Police Department — gathering evidence, tracking down leads however remote, and connecting all the pieces of the crime together — the identity of these men and their involvement in this crime might never have been known. The resolution of this crime is due solely to their dogged pursuit of justice.”Nacogdoches County District Attorney Andrew Jones