Federal court hearing shines new light on Lincoln murder case

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LINCOLN, Neb. – A federal court hearing on Thursday morning shined some new light on the murder of a 36-year-old Lincoln woman in July.

Damon Williams, Dante Williams, and Tawhyne Patterson are all charged with first-degree murder in connection to the killing of Jessica Brandon on July 31, a case that has now been sent to federal court.

In an audio recording of the hearing Thursday morning, FBI agent Brandon Day testified to evidence gathered while the FBI has been on the case, which Day said is the past 2 or 3 weeks.

Day began by outlining the night of the murder, where he detailed surveillance footage that allegedly shows Patterson, Damon Williams, and Dante Williams enter the home.

Day said that Dante Williams was the only one not wearing a mask allowing investigators to positively identify him.

In addition, Day said DNA evidence belonging to Dante Williams was found on a piece of duct tape used to bind one of the victims inside the home.

Day added Patterson and Damon Williams were positively identified by video taken the night before the crime, which showed four people outside the home.

Day said the video, taken July 30, shows the four men casing the home with a gun and a baseball bat.

When asked if it was known who the fourth suspect was, Day declined to answer.

Lincoln Police released the following statement on the search for the fourth suspect:

“A fourth unnamed person was observed in the video surveillance from the night before the homicide. This video was previously released to the media. The investigation is ongoing and we still encourage anyone with information regarding this case to call the Lincoln Police Department at 402.441.6000 or Lincoln Crimestoppers at 402.475.3600.”

During Thursday’s court hearing, Day said following the arrest of the three suspects, Patterson was heard on a call made from jail asking his girlfriend to wipe his phone.

It was discovered that Patterson had used his phone to research the type of zip tie that was used to bind victims in the home.

On Friday, the case was sent to federal court after prosecutors argued the planned robbery could have impacted interstate commerce.

However, the defense is arguing that the case belongs in district court, stating nothing was stolen during the incident.

On the night of the murder, according to court records, Lincoln Police were called to 1950 Fairfield Street shortly before 4 a.m., and discovered Brandon, 36, had been shot in the left shoulder.

Brandon was transported to the hospital where she was pronounced dead at 4:58 a.m., the court records state.

Court records show officers were met by Brandon’s significant other, Michael Robertson, who took them to her. She was found at the bottom of a set of stairs, unresponsive.

In addition to Brandon and Robertson, there were four females under the age of 16 in the home at the time of the murder, as well as a 61-year-old female.

Several individuals were found on the main floor bound with zip ties and duct tape, according to court records.