I-TEAM: Defense attorneys say newly released video will be key in Madison Brooks case
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - There are still a lot of questions about exactly what happened and how a night of underage drinking ended with LSU student Madison Brooks dead. She allegedly left Reggie’s Bar with a group of men for a ride home. During that ride, she had a sexual encounter with two of those men and then was dropped off at the entrance of a neighborhood where she was eventually hit by another car along Burbank Drive.
Newly released video shows the moments a source says Madison Brooks and four men leave the bar after a night of drinking. Attorneys representing the men who’ve been charged in the case say it sheds new light on what all happened that night.
Attorney Joe Long believes the video will be key in their case.
“It confirms what we’ve said all along, that our clients all left and they were getting ready to leave and Ms. Brooks approached them from the bar and I think the video is the best evidence of what happened,” Long said.
The video shows the group leaving the bar around 1:50 a.m. Sunday, January 15, 2023. A group of men can be seen walking across the street and then who sources say is Madison Brooks catching up with them. After she crosses the street, it appears that she stumbles. A different video later shows the group continuing to walk across a different parking lot as they leave. Defense attorneys say Brooks asked for a ride and at some point during the ride two of the men had sex with her.
Three of the men are out on bond. Kaivon Washington and a 17-year-old who are accused of having sex with Brooks face a third degree rape charge. Everett Lee and Casen Carver are charged with principle to third degree rape, meaning they were inside the car but did not have sex with Brooks. The 17-year-old remains in the Juvenile Detention Center until his bond hearing in February.
“The two defendants who engaged in a consensual sexual act with Ms. Brooks did so after obtaining verbal consent,” said attorney Ron Haley.
There are questions though over whether consent was possible. According to arrest reports, Brooks, who is underage, was stumbling out of the bar and allegedly raped. Those same reports go on to state her blood alcohol level was .319. Because she was 19 years old, District Attorney Hillar Moore says that is more than four times the legal limit but the defense team questions the accuracy of that blood test.
“If you have a .319 your motor skills shut your body down,” said attorney Long. “You can’t walk. You can’t talk. You’re lapsing in and out of black out and you risk death. The evidence that we’ve seen so far on the video of Ms. Brooks running across the street in front of Reggie’s, that undermines the police version of events and until our experts can look at what happened, we believe that the BAC that they’re saying is inaccurate.”
“I think that may be easy for a lay person to say but I think that would probably rely more on someone that has a different background to talk about,” Moore added.
What’s also unclear is whether Brooks was drinking more between the time that she left the bar and the time she was later hit and killed on Burbank Drive.
“I know that everybody has questions that they want answered right now and so do we but this investigation is ongoing and it’s active.,” said Moore.
The arrest report also states the two men who had sex with Brooks asked her for consent five times before the sexual encounter and she said yes. The defense team is confident this will be made clear as the case moves forward.
“As the facts of this case continue to come forward, we believe that intent and consent will be very clear,” Haley added.
District Attorney Hillar Moore’s Office says it’s a possibility depending on the evidence that they could upgrade the charges to first degree rape, a much more serious charge. Defense attorneys argue prosecutors will have a hard time proving a case for upgraded charges.
“At this point they are arrested for third degree rape based on the lack of ability to consent to sex. First degree rape is obviously much more serious offense and is when somebody is raped by more than one person- by two people or more- and that’s obviously what the allegations are,” said Moore.
“But you have to prove that it was nonconsensual and they would have a very difficult time proving any of that,” Long added .
The District Attorney says there is a possibility that a grand jury could be brought in to hear the case. There is also a question of whether the 17-year-old charged in the case could be tried as an adult.
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