After Jessica Brandon was shot by would-be robbers, Michael Robertson, her boyfriend, hid a duffel bag and cooler of marijuana and cash as his 10-year-old daughter called 911 and his girlfriend's 16-year-old daughter tried to save Brandon, prosecutors say.
But nothing could be done. Deputy Lancaster County Attorney Jeff Mathers said when rescue workers got there, Brandon was dead at the bottom of the stairs.
The details of the 36-year-old woman's killing came out in court Tuesday morning at Robertson's plea hearing on charges of possession with intent to deliver marijuana and misdemeanor child abuse.
"Tell me what happened back on July 31, 2018," Lancaster County District Judge Jodi Nelson asked Robertson, who pleaded guilty.
Robertson said some guys kicked in the front door "and my girl was up and got shot."
Later, police found marijuana in the house, he added, when Nelson pointed out that the break-in and shooting had nothing to do with the charges.
Mathers said video cameras outside the home where Robertson and Brandon lived at 1950 Fairfield St. showed three men, two carrying handguns, kicking in the door at 3:39 a.m.
At the time, he said, Robertson's mother and daughter were inside. So were Brandon, her daughter and a friend staying over.
Mathers said the girls woke to the noise, and then yelling: "LPD." The intruders tied their hands and feet with zip ties and covered their mouths with duct tape in an upstairs bedroom, he said.
Mathers said Lincoln police later would determine that 13 9mm gunshots had been fired from the top of the stairs into the basement.
"One of the bullets struck Jessica Brandon," he said.
Mathers said the robbers could be seen on the video leaving at 3:42 a.m., just three minutes after they'd arrived.
Then, at 3:44 a.m., the video showed Robertson going back and forth from the house to the garage with a duffel bag and cooler he ultimately took to a shed.
At the same time Robertson worked to hide nearly 3 pounds of marijuana and edibles and $85,800 in drug money, Mathers described how the girls did what they could to try to save Brandon.
"Do you have any basic disagreement with what he said?" the judge asked Robertson after Mathers was done.
Robertson, 36, answered no.
Nelson found him guilty of the charges, which could get him up to 21 years in prison when she sentences him in July.
In January, a grand jury indicted Tawhyne Patterson Sr., Damon Williams and his brother Dante Williams with two federal counts: using a firearm resulting in Brandon’s murder during a crime of violence; and attempted interference with commerce by trying to rob Robertson of money or marijuana.
Last month, a fourth man, Ira Morrow, was accused of attempted robbery.
They all are awaiting trial in U.S. District Court.