Episode 105 - Solving the Murder of Joshua Brown

Transcript, Web links and Credits below.


28-year-old Joshua Brown, a father of three young children, was brutally murdered this past weekend. It wasn’t a random act of violence. He was targeted and shot to death outside of his home. As you may know, he was a key witness in the murder of Botham Jean and testified in the case last week. They were neighbors.

Over the past 72 hours, we have come close to solving this murder. Today I want to unpack and explain it to you and tell you what’s next.

This is Shaun King and you are listening to (The Breakdown)!


When Joshua Brown came to testify in court, attorney Lee Merritt noticed two strange facts that he set aside. He had no idea that they would later be clues into Joshua’s murder.

First, when Joshua showed up in court, he wasn’t dressed for it. He was known as a sharp dresser, but he showed up to court in a Dragon Ball Z t-shirt. Nobody else showed up like that.

And when Joshua got ready to testify, something weird happened. He wasn’t sworn in. He didn’t raise his right hand and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth like every other witness.

Again, the attorneys and courtroom observers had no idea just how important these two clues would become.

As it turns out, unbeknownst to us, Joshua was sworn in within the judge’s chambers. He didn’t want to be there. He told the prosecutors and the judge that testifying would put his life in danger. In fact, to avoid the trial altogether, Joshua upped and left Texas for California, but prosecutors told him that if he did not return, they would issue a warrant for his arrest. Even when the trial began, Joshua refused to return. They started harassing his mother, telling her they would arrest him if he didn’t show up. When prosecutors continued to hound Joshua and his mother, he got on a plane to Dallas, and literally went straight from the plane to the courtroom.

That’s why he showed up to court in a t-shirt. He didn’t even have time to change. And when Joshua got there, Judge Tammy Kemp swore him in in her chambers, and rushed him into the courtroom.

In the courtroom, and even for people watching on television, it was clear from the start that Joshua was emotional and nervous. We all assumed it was just because the weight of Botham’s murder, but we now know that Joshua had communicated to Judge Kemp directly that he was afraid that testifying under oath would get him killed.

I want to play an audio clip for you of Judge Tammy Kemp. It’s going to be hard to hear, but I’ll break it down for you. This is right after Joshua Brown testified. He asked her if he could be dismissed and quietly, under her breath, Judge Kemp says to the bailiff, “Of course. I’m surprised he came.” Here’s the audio.

(Play audio clip of Judge Tammy Kemp)

Let me play if for you on more time.

(Play clip again.)

I have the video up right now on my Instagram.

Let me break down for you what we have learned about why Joshua Brown was so nervous to testify.

(Break it down)

11 months ago, just two months after Botham Jean was shot and killed, Joshua Brown and a friend were shot at by two men. Joshua’s friend was actually killed in the shooting and Joshua was shot in the foot. I’ve had half a dozen people reach out to me about this shooting. One man, I am told, went to prison for this as the fall guy, but the other man, who actually did the shooting, was never held responsible.

Joshua was terrified. His newborn son was just one month old and he was terrified that these people might come to his home and shoot and kill him or even kill his family. In fact, his family is still afraid for their safety right now. Mind you, his next door neighbor had just been shot and killed, then his friend was shot and killed. Joshua was shot. And for the past 11 months, Joshua Brown has lived in a constant state of fear that he would be shot and killed.

Because of this, unbeknownst to any of us, Joshua had basically been in hiding for nearly a year. He communicated this to the judge and the prosecutor, but they did something that basically cost Joshua his life.

They forced him to testify in open court. During the trial of Amber Guyger, an undercover police officer also testified, but the judge was careful to make sure all media and all cameras were removed from the courtroom. By not extending that same privilege to Joshua, it immediately exposed him to the same men who shot and killed his friend last year. The court should’ve done more to protect Joshua. He clearly knew he was in danger and told them as much, but they didn’t take the steps they needed to take to protect him, as they did the police in this case.

Multiple people have told me that when Joshua testified in open court for the prosecution, that it caused the men who wanted to see him dead, the men who shot at him just 11 months ago, to see him as a snitch. In a post that has now been deleted from Facebook, someone actually commented to Joshua “now we know where you live.”

Whoever killed Joshua Brown did it just to kill him. They came to his home. They didn’t steal anything. And they just shot and killed him and left.

My friend Bill Perkins, who is famous for being a world class Poker player but is actually a skilled investor, has put up $100,000 for the reward in this case. If you know anything, or know anyone who does, you can call anonymously at 1-877-373-8477. Your identity will never be revealed.


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Produced by Willis Polk II