Sniper suspects bound over to Hawkins County grand jury

Jeff Bobo • Jan 5, 2009 at 12:00 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Assistant Attorney General Doug Godbee simply used the words of two men accused in the Dec. 9 fatal sniper shooting at the Rogersville Wal-Mart parking lot to get their cases bound over to the Hawkins County grand jury Monday.

During Monday’s preliminary hearing, Rogers- ville Police Department Detective Jim Shanks read from the post-arrest statements given by the two suspects — Ronald Eugene Brewer, 19, and Travis Lee Goins, 22.

On the evening of Dec. 9, Jackson B. Sellers, 18, suffered a fatal bullet wound from a .22-caliber rifle in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The shot was allegedly fired by Brewer from the adjoining car wash parking lot that overlooks the scene.

Police had stated they believed Brewer was aiming at someone else and that Sellers was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Brewer and Goins had been at the Wal-Mart parking lot among a group of young people hanging out that night.

Reading from Brewer’s statement, given after his arrest on Dec. 13, Shanks testified Monday that Brewer and Goins had an ongoing feud with some other boys described as “Bloods” — as in the infamous big-city street gang of the same name.

According to Shanks, Brewer stated that he was after one individual in particular who’d been in an ongoing dispute with Goins about unpaid restitution for a wrecked car belonging to Goins’ father. In the statement, Brewer said the tension that night was getting “deep,” and he believed there would be a fight.

Brewer stated he and Goins left the parking lot and drove to the home of Brewer’s father, where he retrieved the rifle from his bedroom. They then returned to the Wal-Mart parking lot, where the “Bloods” were “yelling and making hand gestures” at Brewer and Goins.

Eventually Brewer directed Goins to drive him to the nearby car wash parking lot, which is elevated above the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Reading from Brewer’s statement Shanks testified, “We left the parking lot. We went up to the car wash. We set there just off of Route 66. I got into the passenger seat, and Travis drove to where we could see the people. He was too close. I told him to pull back. Everyone knew we were up there. I pointed the gun out the window. I asked Travis where (the intended target) was sitting. He said he was sitting on the cart (return) thing. Travis asked me not to kill him, so I aimed low. I pulled the trigger. I assume Jackson walked in front of Josh. I didn’t know Jackson.”

Brewer further stated, “The dude that died, I did not mean for him to die. I would tell him I was sorry. There’s nothing I can say to him. He’s gone.”

According to the statement, both suspects went to Kingsport together after the shooting, and Brewer said he threw the rifle into a dumpster at the Model City Apartments. Shanks said the rifle has not been recovered.

Shanks also read from the statement given by Goins shortly after he turned himself in the morning of Dec. 10.

Goins stated: “The first time we left (the parking lot) I told (a witness) we would be back. Eugene told (that same witness) have everyone stay put.”

Goins stated that Brewer had a .22-caliber rifle under the seat, and that after they stopped at the car wash Brewer walked around the back of the car to the passenger side, “pulled off a shot” and then told Goins to drive.

Goins stated: “I pulled onto Route 66 and then onto the (11-W) highway. I asked Eugene (Brewer) if he’d shot anybody. He said he did not know, but he didn’t shoot at anybody in particular.”

Goins also stated he gave Brewer $13 that night, and they parted company.

Brewer is charged with first-degree murder, and Goins is charged with first-degree murder by criminal responsibility for conduct of another.

There was a disturbance shortly after the preliminary hearing began Monday, and Brewer’s mother, Lisa Brewer, was escorted from the courtroom by Hawkins County deputies. Sheriff Roger Christian later said Lisa Brewer had been waving a cane from the audience, apparently attempting to get her son’s attention. She was not charged but was banned from the courtroom during the hearing.

Brewer’s father, Ronald Eugene Brewer Sr., 52, 126 Bailey Johnson Road, Rogersville, was also in attendance for Monday’s hearing. Brewer Sr. was charged with accessory after the fact on Dec. 13 after his son was arrested in a van allegedly driven by Brewer Sr. that also contained food, blankets and a police radio.

According to court officers, Brewer Sr.’s case had previously been waived to the grand jury. He is free on $10,000 bond.

Brewer Jr. is being held in the Grainger County Jail on $200,000 bond. Goins remains lodged in the Hawkins County Jail on $100,000 bond.

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