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Man on trial for Harrisburg murder vowed to kill Rayon Braxton over bad debt, witness says

A friend of murder victim Rayon Braxton testified Monday that she had a chilling conversation with Jerren Stuckey several months before Braxton was shot to death at his struggling Harrisburg business, Braxton Hall.

“There were rumors about (Braxton) owing people money,” Alexis George told the Dauphin County jury that is weighing a murder charge against the 26-year-old Stuckey.

George said she asked Stuckey about it.

“He pretty much told me if Rayon didn’t pay him the money back…that he was going to do what a man had to do. That he was going to kill Rayon,” she said.

Prosecutors claim that’s exactly what Stuckey did on the evening of Nov. 27, 2015. Chief Deputy District Attorney Johnny Baer is seeking a first-degree murder conviction and life prison sentence for the Susquehanna Township man.

Investigators claim Stuckey went to Braxton Hall on the third floor of the former Big Ugly Warehouse building in the 300 block of Carlisle Street and shot the 24-year-old Braxton seven times at close range.

George testified under questioning by Deputy District Attorney Kristie Falbo that she and Braxton, fellow artists, were longtime friends. She said she tried to help Braxton create Braxton Hall as a safe haven for children from the city’s crime-ridden Allison Hill section.

The two parted ways after the space Braxton rented became the site of frequent pay-to-enter parties that were staged to pay the bills, George said. “The night scene became a lot bigger than what it originally was supposed to be,” she said.

She said her conversation with Stuckey occurred in late summer of 2015. George said that when he spoke of killing Braxton over a debt, “I asked him why he would kill Rayon, because he would not get his money back if he did. That would be stupid.”

On cross-examination, defense attorney George Matangos focused on George’s inability to give more than general dates for incident she testified about. She said she became disillusioned with the parties that were being staged at Braxton Hall, and the fights that sometimes erupted at them.

“I hated the parties,” George said.

Also, she said she told police that Braxton’s cousin, Najee Banks, had pistol-whipped Stuckey during a dispute.

Banks, who was called as a prosecution witness, told Matangos he was angered when Stuckey “had a gun around my kids.”

Questioned by Baer, Banks said Stuckey first helped with security at the Braxton Hall parties, then moved into some sort of management role. “He just stood out to me as flaky,” he said of Stuckey.

Once, when Braxton wasn’t around, Stuckey came to Braxton Hall demanding money, Banks said. He said he gave Stuckey $2,400 and he left. Baer asked Banks to describe Stuckey’s demeanor during that encounter.

“Hostile, confident, attempting to intimidate. He came off like he wanted to be threatening,” Banks replied. “I saw when he came in that there was a bulge in his shirt.”

Another time, Stuckey came in with two other men, one of whom demanded more money from Braxton, Banks said.

The trial is to resume Tuesday in Judge John F. Cherry’s courtroom.

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