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Testimony at Bloomington Murder Trial Focuses On Threats Of Drug Robbery

Tyjuan and his attorneys
Lewis Marien
/
The Pantagraph (Pool)
Tyjuan Bruce, left, sits with his attorneys, Mackenzie Frizzell and Mark Messman, during his trial Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in Bloomington.

UPDATED 5:55 p.m. | Evidence collected from shooting victim Egerton Dover’s home and the car that brought three alleged assailaints to his apartment lacked any link to Tyjuan Bruce, according to testimony Wednesday at Bruce’s murder trial.

Bruce, 21, of Decatur is charged with murder in Dover’s death on Dec. 5, 2018. Two other Decatur men—Anthony Grampsas and Curtis Hairston—have been implicated in the slaying.

Grampsas was convicted of murder in July, and Hairston was killed in an unrelated Decatur shooting in January 2019.

Bruce and Grampsas are charged with felony murder under a provision of state law that allows a person to be charged if they play a part in a death which occurs during a forcible felony. Bruce also is charged with home invasion, armed robbery and residential burglary.

According to authorities, Grampsas drove Hairston and Bruce to the victim’s home where Hairston fired the fatal shots during a drug-related robbery attempt.

In response to defense lawyer Mark Messman, Bloomington crime scene detective Martin Krylowicz told jurors no evidence from the crime scene tied Bruce to the shooting. The same assessment applied to the car driven by Grampsas and an apartment in Normal where the men had been together in the evening.

So far, much of the state’s case against Bruce mirrors the evidence and testimony in the Grampsas trial.

The state claims Bruce and others at the Lancaster gathering were upset because Dover did not share his drugs with them.

In testimony Wednesday morning, Demarius Young recalled Bruce’s threat to rob Dover of his marijuana, a threat Young didn’t take seriously.

The reluctance to share drugs “is not what you do,” Bruce allegedly told Young.

“Bad things happen ... it could get you robbed,” Young recalled Bruce saying.

At the time, Young did not take the threats seriously, he said.

“He was not thinking straight,” said Young, who tried to dissuade Bruce by telling him a robbery could have serious consequences “because of the people that’s behind Egerton.”

Bruce “didn’t care what I was saying. It didn’t matter,” Young told McLean County jurors.

At Grampsas’ trial, prosecutors alleged Bruce took an expensive belt from Bruce’s home and showed it off later as a trophy.

The trial is expected to continue into next week.

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Edith began her career as a reporter with The DeWitt County Observer, a weekly newspaper in Clinton. From 2007 to June 2019, Edith covered crime and legal issues for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. She previously worked as a correspondent for The Pantagraph covering courts and local government issues in central Illinois.
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