DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - The mother of the victim in a hit-and -run accident broke down in tears Tuesday during the trial of the man accused of hitting her son and leaving the scene.
Wendel Brown is accused of hitting and killing 37-year-old Phillip Bratton on Flat Shoal Parkway in June 2010.
Police say a tip from a car repairman led them straight to Brown. Prosecutors say the car technician repaired the headlight on Brown's SUV two days after the crash that killed Bratton.
The technician later saw on the news that authorities were trying to identify the driver involved in a deadly collision.
Tuesday, Linda Bratton, Phillip’s mother, broke down on the stand after looking at pictures of her son taken after the crash. Bratton’s sister left the courtroom because she couldn't take hearing a series of 911 calls from witnesses who saw Bratton's body on the road after the crash.
DeKalb County police say the driver of the SUV kept going, but investigators found pieces of the SUV left at the scene.
Police said they had no clue who the driver was until Brown took his Land Rover Discovery in for repairs.
“It was on the news again that it was a black Land Rover and if I remember correctly it's been a long time, and they had parts of the headlight,” said John Garrison, the technician who worked on Brown’s car.
Detectives say the pieces left at the scene matched the pieces the repairman kept from Brown's car.
Brown told his insurance company he had hit a deer.
Garrison, who says he has repaired about 1,000 cars, said Brown couldn't have hit a deer because of what he didn't find on the car.
“Because when you hit a deer, any vehicle whatsoever, deer hair goes everywhere. It's very coarse. It protrudes into things and I didn’t see any there,” said Garrison in court Tuesday.
“The defendant lied. He didn't hit a deer. What he did was strike and kill Phillip Bratton,” said prosecutor Heather Waters.
Brown's attorney says Brown was nowhere near the scene.
“He did hit a deer. You’re going to hear the testimony about what happened to his vehicle,” Brown’s defense attorney, Charles Webb, said in court.
However, the judge said the jury will not hear the defense's alibi about the deer and where Brown was that night because his attorney did not respond to the state's request for a notice of what alibi he was going to use.
The state and the defense have rested their cases. The jury will hear closing arguments Wednesday and begin deliberating.
Brown faces five years in prison.