September 05, 2017
Tyhan Brown, the man accused of shooting and killing an eight-year-old girl as she fled for safety when gunfire broke out in front of her Camden home, goes on trial Nov. 27, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Gabby Hill-Carter was struck in the head by a stray bullet on August 24, 2016 while on the 900 block of South 9th Street in the Bergen Square area of the city. She died a few days later. Hundreds turned out for her funeral.
The little girl, who had planned to try out for cheerleading, had been riding her bike before gunfire erupted in the neighborhood around 8:30 p.m.
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The street where she lived is a designated “safe corridor” where children are supposed to be able to safely walk on the way to and from school.
Brown and others were allegedly stalking another man, Amir Dixon, following a feud stemming from drugs.
Brown, 19, is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder as well as weapons offenses.
Camden County Police Chief J. Scott Thomson has characterized Carter’s shooting as “gang violence.”
“This has struck an emotional chord throughout the city,” the chief has said.
Brown’s capture took about a month despite an unprecedented $76,000 reward.
Brown’s mother, Shakia Land, and his girlfriend, Natasha Gerald, were also in the same courtroom Tuesday morning to answer charges they had hindered the investigation of Brown’s whereabouts following Hill-Carter's killing.
Land is taking a plea deal; Gerald will be back in court.
Land was accompanied by more than a dozen friends and relatives who were clearly disappointed after the decision to set a court date for Brown was made by Judge John T. Kelley without the defendant present and not even connected to the court via video.
Typically, prisoners are led to court from the neighboring jail to hear a judge’s decision.
Brown’s lawyer, Adam Brent, was in court. The assigned assistant Camden County prosecutor, Christine Shah, was also not present; another member of the prosecutor's office substituted while Shah was involved in a case in another courtroom.
After his flight from Camden, Brown eventually was arrested by the United States Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force at an uncle's home in Clarksville, Tennessee about a month after fleeing South Jersey.
Brown’s alleged accomplices in the shooting have never been arrested despite city leaders vowing to bring everyone involved to justice. He remains in custody, unable to post $1.5 million bail.
Brown's father – Tyhan Brown Sr. – was shot to death in Camden five years ago. He was shot repeatedly while sitting in a car on the 600 block of Third Street on Jan. 14, 2012, and he eventually died in April that same year. That murder was never solved.
Brown faces a potential sentence of life without parole if convicted of killing the girl.
Shah has said in court that a deal of 40 years in jail is on the table for Brown, who would be 58 when released from prison.