Romell Broom set for execution September 15 Apr 22, 2009 19:52:58 GMT -5
Post by mr dio on Apr 22, 2009 19:52:58 GMT -5
On September 21, 1984, Tryna Middleton, and two friends were at a high school football game. Tryna was fourteen years old at the time, and she was a ninth-grade student at the high school. After the football game, the three girls began walking home, and they noticed a car that they thought looked suspicious. They walked away from the car and down a different street. A car without its lights on then came towards the girls and stopped in front of them; the driver exited the car and ran past the girls. Once the girls passed by the parked car, they heard footsteps behind them and then an assailant tried to grab all of them. In the course of the struggle with the girls, the assailant said, “Come here, B****,” and he pulled out a knife. Tryna Middleton, who was short and slightly built, was not able to get away from the assailant, but the other two girls escaped. They ran to a nearby house, where the homeowner allowed them to call their mothers and the police. The girls described the car and the assailant to the police. Approximately two hours later, Tryna’s body was found in a parking lot; she had been stabbed seven times in the chest and abdomen and there were sperm cells found in her rectum and vagina. Five of the stabbings perforated Tryna's heart and lungs causing almost instantaneous death. Tryna also had a wound on her right arm which the coroner testified was the result of Tryna's efforts to defend herself. Tryna's friends were shown a series of photographs, but were unable to identify a suspect at this point. Around the same time, there were two other incidents in the same area involving young girls. On September 18, 1984, a young girl named Venita was walking home when a car passed her and then stopped. When She walked past the car, the driver got out and grabbed her. He also threatened her with a knife, and he called her a “B****.” Residents who lived nearby heard the noise and the girl was able to escape into their home. The other incident occurred on December 6, 1984, involving an 11-year-old girl named Melinda. A car was following Melinda as she was walking home from a corner store near her home, and as she turned a street corner, a man passed her and then grabbed her neck from behind. The assailant began hitting the girl, and he threw her into his car as she struggled and screamed. Melinda’s younger sister witnessed the beating and abduction and called to their mother, who ran outside barefoot and grabbed the locked car door on the driver's side. The icy road made the car's wheel's spin and slowed it's progress, allowing the mother to hold on to the car and to pound the window and push the car with her hip so that the car bumped into a parked car. As her mother held on to the car, Melinda was able to escape through the passenger door which she had unlocked. Two young men who witnessed the commotion were able to get the license plate number of the car and gave it to the mother, which the police subsequently traced to William Broom, Romell Broom’s father. When the police arrived, the engine was still warm. Romell Broom admitted that he had been driving the car. The police then took Broom to the hospital, where both Melinda and her mother identified him as the assailant. The other two witnesses to the incident also identified Broom in a line-up. The similarities between these three incidents led the police to bring in the witnesses from the other attempted abductions and the Tryna Middleton case to view a line-up. The victims and witnesses each independently identified Broom from the line-up; Broom was also identified in a photo array. The police discovered that Broom had been driving his girlfriend’s car before it was wrecked on November 6, 1984, and one of the witnesses identified Broom’s girlfriend’s car as the one from the night of the Middleton incident. Tests revealed that the sperm discovered in Tryna Middleton’s vagina belonged to a person with type B blood, which is the blood type of approximately twelve percent of the population; Broom’s blood is type B. There was also hair evidence found that connected Broom to the crime. A Cuyahoga County grand jury issued an indictment charging Broom with aggravated murder, rape and several counts of kidnapping. Broom was tried on the first five counts in proceedings that began on September 16, 1985. The jury found Broom guilty on each of the charges, and at the end of the penalty phase, recommended a sentence of death.