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Teacher Murder Trial: The Cross-Examination of Nathaniel Brazill, Part II

Aired May 9, 2001 - 09:20   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: If you are just now joining us, what we are watching here this morning is 14-year-old Nathaniel Brazill testifying. He's being cross-examined now in his own trial for the shooting death of his teacher. He's just reviewing some testimony that he gave earlier, and we're now listening to his answer.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

MARC SHINER, PROSECUTOR: ... family or police that you didn't like the teacher?

` NATHANIEL BRAZILL, DEFENDANT: You were referring to Mr. Grunow?

SHINER: Yes, sir.

BRAZILL: Yes I did like Mr. Grunow.

SHINER: Right, but do you remember now telling the -- one of your family members when you didn't know the camera was there -- you didn't know there was a video camera, did you?

BRAZILL: No.

SHINER: You didn't know they were recording you, did you?

BRAZILL: No.

SHINER: Do you remember telling one of your family members when they asked you, "You didn't get in -- ever get in trouble. You didn't like the teacher or something?"

(OFF-MIKE)

SHINER: Sorry. Do you remember saying to one of your family members in response to their question, "You don't never get in trouble. You didn't like the teacher or something?"

BRAZILL: I don't think she was referring to Mr. Grunow.

SHINER: And your response was, "Yeah," correct?

BRAZILL: Yes. SHINER: And then your mom said, "Last year or this year?" and your response was, "This year."

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: Do you remember telling -- in response to one of your friends or family members who was in the room with you, when they asked you what the real reason was, you said, "Cause the teacher made me mad. He messed up my record by suspending me." Do you remember telling him one -- that was the real reason this happened?

BRAZILL: Yes. I remember saying that.

SHINER: And then you were asked, "Were you failing one of your classes?" and you said, "I don't know."

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: You didn't know if Mr. Grunow was going to fail you for the whole year, did you?

BRAZILL: No.

SHINER: You didn't like that, did you?

BRAZILL: I didn't know that I was failing.

SHINER: And that pissed you off, didn't it? You were upset?

BRAZILL: Are you talking about failing?

SHINER: Yes, sir.

BRAZILL: I didn't know I was failing, sir.

SHINER: You got a progress report that showed you were getting an F, didn't you?

BRAZILL: Yes, sir.

SHINER: You never had your mom sign it, did you?

BRAZILL: No, I wasn't -- we didn't have to have that one signed.

SHINER: You got extra points when you have your mom sign it, don't you?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: You didn't want the extra points?

BRAZILL: I had -- I was making up my other work.

SHINER: We'll talk about that in a few minutes, how you made that up. But did you want your mom see it?

BRAZILL: Let's see. Not really. At the time we got that, I think that was on the Friday, and my mother wasn't home.

SHINER: It was three days before you took the gun, wasn't it?

BRAZILL: I think so.

SHINER: I want to talk to you about your statements you made yesterday to Mr. Udell when he asked you some questions, and that's the next series of questions I'm going to ask you. You talked about showing Kervin the gun, remember that?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: And do you remember telling him that "If Kervin said I took the clip out, I will agree to that. I don't remember."

BRAZILL: Yes.

(OFF-MIKE)

SHINER: Thank you.

I want to talk about things you said yesterday and what you can't remember or can remember. The first thing you can't remember is whether or not you showed Kervin the clip in the gun.

BRAZILL: Let's see. Can I remember that? Yes, I can.

SHINER: OK. Do you remember telling Mr. Udell yesterday you couldn't remember that?

BRAZILL: Do I remember telling him that?

SHINER: Yes, sir.

BRAZILL: No, sir.

SHINER: Is there anything wrong with your memory?

BRAZILL: No. Not that I know of.

SHINER: All right. Today, can you remember it?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: OK. Do you remember showing him where the safety was and how the safe position of the gun would be?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: Do you remember when you spoke about Tiffany coming over, and you said Kervin told Tiffany that you had a gun? Do you remember that?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: You were asked some questions about showing Tiffany the gun, and you said you took the handle out and showed her the handle?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: And then she had some questions about whether it was real or not?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: And you took out the clip and showed her the bullets?

BRAZILL: She asked to see the bullets, yes.

SHINER: And you showed them to her?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: You wanted to prove to her it was real.

BRAZILL: She asked. I was just -- I was showing her.

SHINER: Did you want to prove to her it was real?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: And then you were asked a question by your attorney, and you said, "She asked where do I keep it, and then she asked another question, but I can't remember." Do you remember making that statement yesterday or something to that effect?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: The question she asked you, where do you keep it, was referring to the gun, where you store the gun in your house, right?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: And you told her that you keep it in your drawer?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: You told her that you wanted to make sure your mama didn't catch you because, if she did, you'd be in a heap of trouble.

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: Because you knew it was illegal and wrong to have a gun.

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: And there was no absolutely no reason in the world that a 13-year-old, seventh-grade student would need a gun.

BRAZILL: Not really, no.

SHINER: You had no reason.

BRAZILL: No.

SHINER: There was no one trying to hurt you.

BRAZILL: No.

SHINER: No one trying to kill your family members.

BRAZILL: No.

SHINER: Or your alleged friends.

BRAZILL: No.

SHINER: Now the question you can't remember that Tiffany asked you -- let's see if I can help you. Was it something to the effect of "Would you ever kill anyone?"

BRAZILL: I -- I think that was it.

SHINER: Now do you remember that?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: Are you sure?

BRAZILL: Say it again.

SHINER: Are you sure you remember it today?

BRAZILL: From what you just said, it sounded like something of that nature.

SHINER: OK. You didn't remember that yesterday, did you?

BRAZILL: No.

SHINER: No. Any particular reason why?

BRAZILL: No.

SHINER: Did you not want to talk about that?

BRAZILL: I wasn't really too much thinking about that.

SHINER: OK. But, today, you can remember asking her -- or answering her. When she said, "Would you ever kill everyone?" you said, "Yes, if I have to."

BRAZILL: Well, you brought it back to my memory.

SHINER: That's what you told her, right?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: And then she said, "Come on. You would never kill anyone, would you, Nate?" and you said, "Yeah, I'm going to kill your cousin Bobbie McCroy (ph)."

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: Do remember telling her that?

BRAZILL: I didn't say I was going -- I said someone like her cousin.

SHINER: Oh, like her cousin.

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: Did you unintentionally say that, or was that intentional?

BRAZILL: That was intentional.

SHINER: Did you think that was a big joke?

BRAZILL: Did I think it was a big joke?

SHINER: Yes, sir.

BRAZILL: No. It was a joke but not a big joke.

SHINER: Oh, OK. You thought that was the proper way to play around?

BRAZILL: No.

SHINER: But you did it anyway?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: You said you got an F on your progress report in Mr. Udell's questioning, and you talked about finishing a disk for Mr. Grunow's class. What was that all about?

BRAZILL: It was -- it was -- it was a lot of work that we did. One thing was a disk that we did in Mr. Grunow's class. It was -- I don't remember what -- I think it was a story that we had to write.

SHINER: Was it about your life story?

BRAZILL: I think so. I'm not sure.

SHINER: And do you remember handing him in a disk that had nothing on it except, "About the author. Nathaniel Brazill, 1986 through 2055," in parentheses, "Nathaniel was born in Lake Worth, Florida, on September 22nd, 1986." Do you remember giving him something through that with nothing else on it?

BRAZILL: No.

SHINER: You don't?

BRAZILL: No, sir.

SHINER: You were asked about the water balloon incident by Mr. Udell, your attorney, yesterday. Do you remember that?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: And you said that you don't remember seeing Mr. Hinds. Do you remember making that statement?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: Do you remember that today?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: Yesterday, you didn't?

BRAZILL: Say -- didn't I say -- didn't I say that yesterday?

SHINER: Yes, sir. Let me -- let me rephrase that for you. As you're sitting here now, do you remember Mr. Hinds looking you in the eye and yelling your name, "Nate, don't throw the water balloon."

BRAZILL: No, sir.

SHINER: You can't remember that?

BRAZILL: No, sir.

SHINER: No way?

BRAZILL: No.

SHINER: OK. Do you remember Mr. Hinds even being there at all when you threw the water balloon?

BRAZILL: Well, after I had threw the water balloon, I saw him coming down the hall. He was next to -- he was near the gates.

SHINER: Do you remember telling Mr. Udell, your lawyer, yesterday you didn't remember Mr. Hinds being there at all.

BRAZILL: I didn't say that, sir.

SHINER: You didn't?

BRAZILL: No. I said what I just said now, that he was near -- he was down by the gates.

SHINER: Are you sure?

BRAZILL: Yes.

SHINER: All right. But, today, you don't remember Mr. Hinds saying, "Don't throw it."

BRAZILL: No. I didn't hear nothing Mr. Hinds said.

SHINER: Did you get to see him look directly in your face, like I'm looking at you right now?

BRAZILL: No, sir.

SHINER: So you didn't see Mr. Hinds' eyes, and that means you never saw him looking at you.

BRAZILL: No.

SHINER: OK. You don't wear glasses, do you?

BRAZILL: No, sir.

SHINER: You have perfect vision.

BRAZILL: I assume so, yes.

SHINER: There was nothing stressful about playing around with water balloons, was there?

BRAZILL: No.

SHINER: Do you remember running to class and ducking from Mr. Hinds?

BRAZILL: I didn't duck from Mr. Hinds, but, yes, I did run to class.

SHINER: Do you remember the testimony in this case that you were playing around and hiding from him like it was a big joke?

BRAZILL: That I said?

SHINER: Not that you said. That one of the students said. One of your friends.

BRAZILL: Oh, I assume so, but I didn't say it.

SHINER: You weren't doing that? You weren't ducking around...

BRAZILL: No, sir.

SHINER: ... trying to hide under a chair or a table?

BRAZILL: No, sir.

SHINER: Or a closet or anything like that?

BRAZILL: No, sir.

SHINER: Because you didn't even see him.

BRAZILL: No, s -- I saw him coming -- he was near the gates.

SHINER: Did you hear him screaming out your name to stop?

BRAZILL: No, sir.

SHINER: You never heard that either?

BRAZILL: No, sir.

SHINER: And you told the jury yesterday you don't remember why Mr. Hinds even wanted you.

BRAZILL: No, sir.

SHINER: You didn't have no idea.

BRAZILL: At the time when he got me from class, I didn't know why -- what he wanted me for.

SHINER: Are you sure?

(OFF-MIKE)

JUDGE RICHARD WENNET, 15TH CIRCUIT COURT: Are you OK? Do you need some water?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not coughing.

WENNET: Oh, you aren't co -- oh, I'm sorry. All right. Very well.

Mr. Shiner, if I can impose upon you to re-ask your question.

SHINER: Do you remember the last question, Mr. Brazill?

BRAZILL: No, sir.

(OFF-MIKE)

SHINER: I don't remember the last question.

WENNET: I'll tell you what, Barry (ph). Why don't you start all over again and read it back so -- actually, I don't either. I would have -- would have helped you.

COURT REPORTER: In the questioning, you told the jury yesterday you don't remember...

HARRIS: We've been listening to the first stages of the cross- examination of Nathaniel Brazill, the 14-year-old who is standing trial for the shooting death of his teacher, Barry Grunow.

We're going to take a break right now, but we'll be right back and rejoin this in progress in just a moment.

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