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New details of Franklin County slaying emerge at bond hearing

New details of Franklin County slaying emerge at bond hearing

One of six defendants in a pre-dawn shooting last summer, which left one man dead and his brother wounded in their home, saw his request for bond refused Jan. 27 in Franklin County Circuit Court.

Te’Sean Markee Brooks, 20, of Hardy is charged with murder, malicious wounding, armed robbery, statutory burglary, conspiracy to rob and burglarize, larceny of a firearm and using a gun to commit a felony.

Brooks was indicted on those counts at January’s grand jury. Prior to that, he was charged with malicious wounding and shooting in an occupied building. His motion for bond in those charges was denied last year, and they’ve since been dismissed.

He and five other men were arrested days after a 911 call that was made July 14 from a home on Salthouse Branch Road in Henry, where police found Justin Chase Prillaman, 20, shot dead. The victim’s brother, James Matthew Prillaman, 18, was also hit by gunfire. A prosecutor has said he was shot in both arms and the chest but is now in recovery and was present Jan. 27.

Brooks, who appeared remotely from the Western Virginia Regional Jail, told Judge William Broadhurst that, but for a 2018 traffic ticket, he has no criminal record.

His mother, who came from North Carolina for the hearing, testified that since her son’s arrest, her previously diagnosed cancer has spread and, as a single parent, she would like her son free on bail to help her deal with her illness and treatment.

In arguing against bond, assistant prosecutor Sandra Workman disclosed new details of evidence in the case. She said Brooks admitted to Franklin County investigators that he shot the younger Prillaman three times at the Prillaman home.

“That shooting was part of a planned robbery,” Workman said. It began with another defendant, Qu’Shawn Tylek Manns, going into the home to visit the Prillamans, she said. There was gunfire, she said, after which Manns came out and allegedly let the others in.

Brooks and Manns now face the same charges. Four others are similarly charged.

Workman said pains have been taken to keep the men separated while in custody, but if he’s released Brooks could potentially communicate with them.

Based on the facts before him, Broadhurst said, he could not guarantee that the public would be safe or that Brooks wouldn’t flee, and he denied him bond.

Defense attorney Rob Dean said in court he intends to argue that Brooks fired in self-defense and that “he just didn’t know what was going on that night.”

More than 70 search warrants in the case, which were sealed in July and again in October, have recently been made public. They deal largely with examinations of the defendants’ homes and vehicles, their phones and social media accounts, and the scene of the shooting.

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