Homicide suspect fights additional intimidation charges

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

Jaquez Brown occupied a cell last year in York County Prison's Delta block — “The Hole” — when he took part in a plan to intimidate a witness, investigators allege.

Brown was back at the facility and only a couple of days from going to trial for a second time on murder charges from a shooting in 2011. He won the new trial after appealing his original conviction.

The cell next to Brown’s held a man named Nakhi Carroll. His work release had recently been revoked, police said, and he allegedly had a harassment case on his mind.

Jaquez Brown

A co-worker of Carroll's at Syncreon went to Springettsbury Township police and accused Carroll of inappropriately sexting her. When she rejected his advances, she told police, Carroll spat in her face in late January 2022.

The allegation earned Carroll a summary harassment charge.

So, as the two men shared neighboring cells, investigators said Carroll got Brown to call the woman as part of a campaign — a “war,” as Carroll allegedly put it — to get her to drop her accusations.

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Brown allegedly called a number using one of the phones on the block the morning of Jan. 29, two days before his retrial started. Investigators said he told a woman on the other end that he was calling for Carroll, and that he needed her to go to police and drop the charges, that “it was a heat-of-the-moment-type thing.”

According to investigators, Brown wasn’t alone on the call.

“There’s another voice, being Nakhi Carroll, going back and forth with Jaquez, prompting him what to say,” Detective Anthony Fetrow said during a hearing Tuesday.

The York County District Attorney’s Office detective said he identified Brown’s voice from previous jailhouse call recordings from the initial homicide investigation, from his prison call PIN, and from him identifying himself on the call as “Quez.”

As it turned out, Brown didn’t talk to the victim in the case — he had ended up calling another woman, Keelijah Lawson, who was allegedly associated with Carroll. When Brown realized his mistake, police said, he asked Lawson to pass the message to the victim.

For that call, the 27-year-old Brown was charged with intimidating a victim and conspiracy.

The felony counts were filed in April, after he was acquitted of murder in the retrial and released from prison but before he was arrested on new homicide charges in July and sent back to jail. He’s accused of helping gun down a man in broad daylight along a city street in a case separate from the other two.

But in the intimidation case, Brown is challenging the charges along with another man, Jalan Housman, who also faces intimidation charges amid accusations of helping Carroll.

Their attorneys filed habeas corpus petitions, which led to a court hearing Tuesday. They argued the accusations against their clients don’t meet the elements for the charges.

“I dispute that his conduct rose to the level of intimidation of a witness,” said Heather Reiner, Brown’s attorney.

Reiner argued that Brown made one call in which he relayed information from one person to another and didn’t realize he wasn’t talking to the right person. She also said he made no threats and did not discuss money during the call.

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Investigators, meanwhile, said Housman, 28, was on a few calls with Carroll over those last days in January. That included facilitating a three-way call between Carroll and the victim.

Detective Fetrow noted under cross-examination that Housman didn’t speak to the woman in that call.

“He’s a fly on the wall, listening in. That’s it,” he said.

Beyond that, Fetrow alleged that Housman spoke with Carroll about finding the victim’s address, and that he got other people at Syncreon to confront her. Fetrow also indicated Housman allegedly planned to possibly get violent.

Housman’s attorney, Jeremy Williams, argued he was only a “conduit” to put Carroll in contact with the victim. He said the one phone conversation was benign and that the victim didn’t sound frightened.

“At best there’s an inducement, but it’s not an inducement that rises to the level of intimidation,” Williams said.

The inducement apparently referred to an allegation that Carroll offered to pay the victim’s court costs if she dropped the charges against him.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Virginia Hobbs saw the situations involving Brown and Housman differently, alleging they willingly helped in attempts to get a person to recant her accusation.

“This is a charge the court should take very seriously. This is an attempt to impede the process of justice,” Hobbs said.

She alleged Brown helped “his buddy out” and made a call aimed at convincing a person to recant a statement and lie.

Hobbs also alleged Housman helped coordinate the campaign to have co-workers confront the woman and to put Carroll in touch with her.

“They continue to batter this woman with contact after contact,” she said.

Lawson, the other woman involved in the case, also tried to help find the victim’s house. She called Springettsbury Township police and allegedly posed as the victim to try to get an officer to pull the charge.

Hobbs said the victim eventually did go to police to try to drop the case because she didn’t have the time to deal with it anymore. Hobbs argued that the woman didn’t directly tell police she felt intimidated because she didn’t want to get into more hot water with Carroll over the situation.

But when police told the woman they knew about the calls to her, she decided to keep going forward with the case.

Common Pleas Judge Harry Ness took the arguments under advisement and said he would issue a decision on Brown's and Housman’s charges at a later date.

Carroll and Lawson, meanwhile, have already pleaded guilty to their roles in the case.

Carroll admitted to a felony intimidation charge during a Jan. 9 hearing and was sentenced to one to two years in custody. Counts of conspiracy and obstruction of justice were dismissed, court documents show.

Lawson admitted to felony counts of conspiracy to intimidate and identity theft last November. She was sentenced to three years of probation with six months of house arrest, court documents show.

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While Ness considers the intimidation case, Brown remains jailed as the new homicide case against him moves forward. He's charged with first- and third-degree murder.

York City police allege he was one of four masked gunmen who shot and killed Shaheim Carr outside the 27-year-old’s home along West Philadelphia Street on July 6.

York City Police investigate the scene of a shooting in the 300 block of West Philadelphia Street in York City, Wednesday, July 6, 2022. Police confirmed in a new release that a 27-year-old male victim died at the scene. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Nearly 100 bullets were fired during the incident, investigators said.

Police said they used security camera videos to track the getaway car from the scene to a home on Wheatlyn Drive in Spring Garden Township where Brown was staying at the time. Police also alleged Brown’s phone had connected to the car’s Bluetooth infotainment system, among other evidence.

No other suspects have been charged in the Carr homicide so far.

— Reach Aimee Ambrose at aambrose@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.