A fresh cigarette butt found near the scene of a and shooting that left a South Whitehall man wounded was among the evidence that led to an arrest of a suspect, police said.
A preliminary hearing for Terrance Jamal Brown, 24, of Philadelphia is scheduled for 11 a.m. today at Lehigh County Central Court on charges he took part in a burglary by three armed men that resulted in the shooting of Jermaine Herod at his family’s home at 2998 South Drive in the township.
According to the arrest affidavit filed by South Whitehall police, a warrant was issued for Brown's arrest last February and he was charged with aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, recklessly endangering and criminal conspiracy.
In the early morning hours of April 25, 2011, three armed men wearing masks entered the home of Linden Herod through a basement window and “herded the father, mother, three sons and a juvenile cousin into an upstairs bathroom,” the affidavit says. They robbed the family of cash at gunpoint, and after trying to get Jermaine, the oldest son, to tell them the location of a safe, they kicked him in the head.
Jermaine was the last one into the bathroom and six shots were fired through the bathroom door, including some that hit him. The robbers fled and family members took Jermaine to the hospital where he was expected to recover.
During the investigation, police found a neighbor who had seen a suspicious vehicle in the direction the robbers fled when they left the Herod home.
“Investigation of that area disclosed a fresh cigarette butt on the ground near the curb,” the affidavit said. “The cigarette was freshly burned and had been dropped there since the rain stopped at around midnight.”
That cigarette butt was among the evidence in the investigation that eventually led to Brown as a suspect. He allegedly had taken off his mask when the family was being held in the bathroom. One of the family members had seen his reflection in the bathroom mirror and was able to pick him out of a photo array, police said.