JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A former Jacksonville high school basketball star who was found shot in the head on Ramona Boulevard in November was likely set up by a woman he knew, Lt. Steve Gallaher announced Tuesday.
Edward Brown, 31, died at UF Health after he was found just before 11 p.m. on Nov. 7, lying wounded on Ramona Boulevard, several blocks west of Lane Avenue. Brown had been a member of the Class 2A state championship basketball team at Arlington Country Day School in 2005, the year he graduated.
Blair Terry, 26, and Philieza Lopano, 21, have been charged in Brown's murder.
Serena Tinney, Brown's fiancee, said he was betrayed by Lopano, who was his ex-girlfriend.
Tinney said she's still numb, and she's left now to raise their children alone.
“It is not going to bring him back. To know that they can’t do anything to anyone else is a good feeling, but to know that his kids will never see him -- his 3-year-old son, only son will not remember (his) daddy,” Tinney said. “He was a good guy, not a perfect guy, but a good guy -- a family man, father, son, fiancé, and he impacted a lot of people's lives.”
Tinney said Brown had dreamed of writing music and playing professional basketball but an accident had derailed that dream, and that's why he began selling drugs.
Gallaher said homicide detectives traced Brown's movements on the day of his murder and learned that he might have been selling drugs on Lane Avenue earlier in the evening and had rented a room in that area.
Gallaher said surveillance video from the hotel showed Lopano arriving at the hotel driving a white vehicle, with Terry in the passenger seat.
She parked and went into Brown's hotel room. When she got out of the vehicle, Terry also got out and hid in the shadows until Brown and Lopano came back, Gallaher said.
When they got into the vehicle, Terry walked up as though he just happened to be in the area and had a conversation with Lopano, Gallaher said.
After that short conversation, Terry got into the back seat of vehicle, and Lopano drove away.
That was the last time that Brown (pictured in a high school basketball photo provided by ACDS) was seen alive. His body was spotted in the road minutes later, Gallaher said.
Detectives later found the vehicle, processed it and found forensic physical evidence that linked Lopano and Terry to the crime, Gallaher said.
Arrest warrants were obtained for Lopano and Terry, and they were arrested together on Sunday, Gallaher said.
Police are unsure of the relationship between Terry and Brown.
Gallaher said police believe that Lopano set Brown up to be killed.
“That's why she was charged with murder,” Gallaher said.
Tinney said her life has no purpose without Brown in it.
“Life without Eddie is no life. I ask myself every day, 'What is life without your love?' And still haven’t got the answer, and I know I will probably never get it,” she said. “I find myself at the graveyard more than I am at home. I know it's not good, but at the same time, I feel like I can talk to him, and still I don’t get an answer.”
Tinney said that Brown never wanted to sell drugs. She said he had just gotten a new job the week before his death. Now all she wants is justice for her fiancé.
“The last thing I want to have to do is explain to our kids that you are not coming back and my worst nightmare came true and it was in the streets,” Tinney said. “Somebody that he trusted.”
She said she also knew Lopano and plans to go to the jail to ask her why she would hurt Brown.