Gulfport man sentenced to life, convicted of murder in second case

A Gulfport man will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death of Charles Johnson.

District Attorney W. Crosby Parker said Friday that Adisa Jemel Braziel, 35, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced in Gulfport earlier this week.

Circuit Court Judge Christopher Schmidt sentenced Braziel to 25 years without the possibility of parole or early release, to run concurrently with a life without parole sentence Braziel is currently serving in another case.

On August 4, 2019, Gulfport Police responded to 911 calls about shots fired and a subject down at Emerald Pines Apartments on 39th Avenue. When officers arrived, they found Johnson, 27, lying on the sidewalk between two buildings, with multiple gunshot wounds to the back. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses identified Braziel as the shooter and advised that he had fled on foot in the direction of the Villa Del Ray subdivision.

Investigators interviewed multiple witnesses, who all said Braziel and Johnson were in a verbal altercation over missing items that led to punches being thrown, and the two men having to be physically separated. It was then that witnesses say “Braziel went inside his residence, retrieved a gun, returned and shot Johnson once in the chest, and then stood over him and fired multiple shots into Johnson’s back as he lay face down on the sidewalk,” said Assistant District Attorney Ian Baker, who prosecuted the case.

At sentencing, Schmidt said that the sentence was appropriate in this case, in light of the life without parole sentence that the judge had previously imposed on Braziel following a prior jury trial last year in Biloxi.

The Biloxi case, also prosecuted by ADA Ian Baker, involved a June 14, 2018, incident, in which Braziel showed up uninvited at an ex-girlfriend’s apartment and chased her with a knife into a neighbor’s apartment. The evidence during the two-day trial of that matter showed that Braziel kicked in the neighbor’s door and attempted to assault the victim with a large kitchen knife. Police were called prior to Braziel making entry, and arrived to find him standing in the kitchen with a knife attempting to assault the victim.

Braziel was out on bond for the Biloxi charge when he committed the murder in Gulfport, but has remained in custody since being arrested on August 5, 2019.

Due to both his then pending murder charge, and prior convictions, Braziel was indicted, tried, convicted and sentenced by the court under Mississippi’s Life Habitual statute in the Biloxi case on the charge of burglary of a dwelling with intent to assault.

Accordingly, Braziel is not eligible for parole or early release on the Biloxi charge and must remain in prison for the remainder of his natural life. The 25-year sentence imposed this week is also without the possibility of parole or early release, and will run concurrently with his life sentence.

“This senseless murder was fueled by a night of alcohol and drug use by the defendant that led him to take the life of another. This is an important day for the family of Charles Johnson, as they sought justice for the loss of a beloved son, brother, husband and father. The District Attorney’s Office s appreciates the hard work, dedication, and commitment of the Gulfport Police Department that ensured this arrest and conviction,” said Parker.

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