Shaheed Brown pleads innocent to charges of shooting and killing Enrico Smalley outside of La Guira Bar
A city man accused in the July shooting death of Enrico Smalley Jr. pleaded not guilty to murder charges and rejected an offer from prosecutors calling for a 45-year prison term during a contentious status hearing Wednesday, highlighted by renewed bickering about discovery issues from attorneys involved in the case.
Shaheed Brown, 30, was indicted in November on counts of first-degree murder and weapons offense in connection with the July 12 death of Smalley, who was shot multiple times outside of La Guira Bar.
Brown’s attorney, Edward Heyburn said his client didn’t need time to mull the offer, which was rejected outright, and he asked a judge to fast-track the case for trial.
Heyburn spent the remainder of the hearing renewing gripes about outstanding discovery he said hasn’t been turned over by Assistant Prosecutor Brian McCauley. He wanted names of all bar patrons who were present the night Smalley was shot, presumably so he can build a defense that appears to rely on the notion that someone other than Brown pulled the trigger that night.
The case spawned intense media scrutiny, leading a judge to issue a gag order after The Trentonian obtained a video that appeared to show another man, known only as “King,” reaching for something tucked into the left side of his waistband moments before Smalley was shot in the head.
The Trentonian’s story, in which Heyburn claimed police never attempted to track down or interview the man, led Superior Court Judge Robert Billmeier to seal the case file to ensure pretrial publicity didn’t damage Brown’s ability to have a fair trial.
Attorneys were barred from discussing the case outside of the courtroom after McCauley complained the video had a chilling effect on a potential witness. He also accused Heyburn of “doctoring” the video to benefit his client.
Heyburn has disputed a suggestion that he violated any rules of professional conduct by releasing the video to The Trentonian because it was done in defense of his client, to counter “adverse publicity.”
La Guira Bar also came under fire after several city residents, outraged about a second fatal shooting last month, said the establishment has become a hotspot for violence.
In December, Patrick Walker was gunned down outside the bar, leading officials from the Alcoholic Beverage Control to inquire about the establishment’s practices.
As a repeat offender, with convictions for aggravated assault and aggravated arson, Brown faces up to 60 years in prison if he is convicted of murder, prosecutors said. He remains jailed on $1 million bail.