A Columbus police lineup used six men with some type of eye condition, but a BP Food Mart clerk still selected Dennis Lee Brown as the armed suspect in the Sept. 3 robbery on Veterans Parkway, a police detective said Friday during a Recorder’s Court hearing.
Brown, 27, pleaded not guilty to one count of armed robbery, aggravated assault, convicted felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a knife or firearm during the commission or attempt to commit certain crimes. Judge Mary Buckner ordered Brown held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail on the armed robbery and aggravated assault charges.
Police Detective Joseph Austin told the court that a man with a long-sleeve, hooded sweatshirt and half-closed left eye entered the 2317 Veterans Parkway business about 10:50 a.m., pointed a pistol at the clerk and demanded money. While the clerk was trying to get the cash, the armed man fired a shot inside the store before taking cash from the business.
Although the hooded sweatshirt was pulled up around the man’s face, Austin said the clerk could still see the man’s eyes and nose. The man also had tattoos on his lower arm.
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Brown was taken into custody Wednesday on outstanding warrants. Police used five other inmates in a police lineup, all with some type of condition with one eye, to identify the suspect. The clerk selected Brown in the lineup.
Brown was represented by attorney Shevon Thomas, who wanted to know if all those in the lineup had what he called a “lazy eye.”
“They all had something wrong with the eye,” Austin said.
Thomas also asked the detective if he had talked with Brown about the robbery. Austin said Brown denied any involvement in the robbery. The suspect also said he was at the Budgetel Inn in Columbus at the time of the robbery, but Austin said he was unable to get with the manager and review video at the business.