Testimony: Mobile teenager told police co-defendant put him up to shooting store owner

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 12:30 PM CST
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A 16-year-old accused of shooting a convenience store owner during a robbery in September confessed to the crime and told investigators that his alleged accomplice directed him to do so, an investigator testified Thursday.

Mobile police Detective George Busbee testified during a preliminary hearing in Mobile County District Court that officers arrested the 16-year-old – whose name has been withheld because of his age – shortly after the Sept. 15 shooting. He said the teenager had a 9mm handgun that matched shell casings found at Mother’s Finest Convenience Store on Houston Street.

The shooting left Grover Stewart paralyzed from the waist down. Mobile County District Judge George Zoghby determined that prosecutors had presented sufficient evidence for a grand jury consider robbery and attempted murder charges against the 16-year-old and his 19-year-old co-defendant, Jalunnie Bradley.

Busbee testified that the 16-year-old admitted his conduct and pointed the finger at Bradley.

“He stated that he was put up to this by Jalunnie Bradley, that Bradley made him do it,” he said.

Bradley’s attorney, James Brandyburg, declined to comment after Thursday’s hearing.

Busbee testified that a woman who was sitting in her parked car outside the store told investigators that she saw two people matching the defendants’ description walk inside and then leave a while later. He said the surveillance video from the store confirms that description and shows the defendants walking around as if they are shopping before the gunman opens fire.

Busbee testified that a partition obscures the view of Stewart. But police previously said he suffered a gunshot wound to the back. In addition, the officer testified, the victim told him that he is familiar with both teens, who have purchased items from the store in the past. Stewart can identify both, the officer said.

“He knows them both,” he said. “He’s seen them before.”

When questioned by investigators, Bradley denied responsibility for the shooting, Busbee testified. He said the defendant claimed that it was a coincidence he there at the same time as the 16-year-old. Bradley also denied that he ever had a gun, the officer testified.

“And yet, video evidence shows him with a firearm in the store prior to the incident,” he said.

The case now heads to a grand jury, which will decide whether to hand up an indictment. In addition, the judge denied a request by Brandyburg to remove a requirement that Bradley put up $10,000 of his $100,000 bail in place. That is a requirement imposed by Mobile County District Judge Zackery Moore, consistent with his practice in cases involving guns. Zoghby left that requirement in place.

As for Stewart, Thursday marked two weeks since he has been back home from the hospital in Birmingham, according to sister Ann Williams.

“He’s just taking each day at a time,” she told FOX10 News. “It’s a long road to recovery, and his family is 100 percent behind him.”

Updated at 3:08 p.m. with comments from Ann Williams.


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