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YOUNGSTOWN Child testifies that Anderson shot her and killed her family

By Bob Jackson

Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Jurors will probably be sequestered if deliberations take more than a day.
YOUNGSTOWN -- In a hushed voice, 6-year-old Brea Aziz told jurors Monday how she walked first to the bathroom, then to her bedroom, after being shot in the face during a 1998 robbery.
"My face was burning," she said softly, explaining in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court why she went to the bathroom.
Then she went to her bedroom, got into bed and crawled under the covers. That's where police found her.
She knew him: Brea said Anthony Anderson, whom she knows as "Ant," was the man who shot her, her mother and her 4-year-old brother at her family's Lansdowne Boulevard home in November 1998.
Anderson, 24, of Kenneth Street, is charged with three counts of aggravated murder and one count each of attempted aggravated murder and aggravated robbery. He could be sentenced to death if he is convicted.
Testimony wrapped up Monday and jurors were to begin deliberating today after hearing closing arguments from lawyers. Jurors will likely be sequestered if deliberation continues into Wednesday.
Brea, who was 3 at the time of the shooting, said she and her brother, DeShun Moreland, were on the couch when Anderson shot them. Their mother, LaShawnda Aziz, was in a bedroom, where she'd been taken by Anderson.
Judge R. Scott Krichbaum ordered the courtroom cleared for her testimony. Only a handful of family members and reporters were allowed to watch. No television cameras or tape recorders were allowed.
Checked on others: The five male and seven female jurors watched closely as the little girl, wearing a dark purple outfit, told them how she checked on her mother and brother before going to take care of herself.
Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Franken knelt on one knee as he questioned Brea, who spent about 10 minutes on the witness stand.
Defense attorney Louis DeFabio objected to the little girl's testimony, saying that she is too young to be a credible witness. Judge Krichbaum had interviewed her privately before her testimony and ruled that she was competent to testify.
Brea looked only at the attorneys who questioned her while she was on the witness stand. She did not look toward Anderson, who sat to her left at the defense table.
Carrying fetus: Dr. Jesse C. Giles, Mahoning County deputy coroner, testified that Ms. Aziz was about 21 weeks pregnant and that her death caused the death of the male fetus.
DeFabio and Atty. James Gentile, who also represents Anderson, opted not to call any witnesses after prosecutors completed their case.