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BLOOMINGTON - Samuel Brooks told jurors last week he never saw who shot and killed a Bloomington man during a fight between rival Twin City gang members more than two years ago at Miller Park.

But the 26-year-old member of the Black P Stone gang repeatedly identified the shooter in a 2004 videotaped interview with Bloomington police. The tape was played for jurors Monday in the murder trial of Byron Merriweather.

"Little Lord did the shooting. That's the truth," Brooks said on the tape, referring to Merriweather by his nickname. "I know what happened. I was right there."

Merriweather is charged with murder in the June 15, 2003, fatal shooting of Stephen McDade. The prosecution rested its case against Merriweather on Monday, and the defense will begin presenting evidence today.

Brooks told Bloomington detective Clay Wheeler that Merriweather even shot him in the hand accidentally while firing wildly toward McDade during the scuffle between rival gang members.

The 2004 interview was a stark contrast to Brooks' testimony last week. Brooks took the stand and said police had told him Merriweather had committed the crime.

"I didn't see who did the shooting," Brooks said last week. "Detective Wheeler told me who did it. I never made the statement that Byron Merriweather did the shooting."

Wheeler, the lead detective working the Miller Park homicide, denied he ever told Brooks that Merriweather was the shooter.

Defense attorney Dick Koritz noted Brooks had just been arrested on drug charges and was concerned about staying out of jail when he agreed to provide the information.

Jurors on Monday also heard Merriweather's version of what took place that night at Miller Park.

A member of the Conservative Vice Lords, Merriweather admitted in a four-hour interview with Wheeler after his arrest in 2004 that he fought with the Gangster Disciples moments before the fatal shooting.

But the 20-year-old repeatedly denied he shot and killed McDade. When asked about the defense's case Monday, Koritz would not say whether Merriweather planned to testify.

The trial resumes today at the McLean County Law and Justice Center in Bloomington. Jurors are expected to begin deliberations by Wednesday.


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