Police Officers, bank tellers, photojournalist take stand in NBT Bank Robbery trial

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The first witnesses took the stand Tuesday in the attempted murder and robbery trial of Brian Brown. He is accused of robbing Bank of America in east Utica in May and NBT Bank in Rome in July.

Among the first on the stand Tuesday: NBT tellers, who told of being terrorized by a slightly-built suspect with a gun.

"He pointed it up, shot into the ceiling and I went down. I don't know whether I fell, whether I ducked, I really couldn't tell you I was in shock. But when I went down, he jumped up on the counter and was pointing the gun down at me," said Teller Supervisor Gloria Ferdinand.

Teller Marie Bostwick was working the drive-thru window at NBT. She could smell gunsmoke, and she could tell the suspect meant business.

"It happened fast," she said. "He ended up jumping up on the counter and he was yelling to get the money and he was serious"

Neither woman could identify defendant Brian Brown as the man who robbed NBT Bank, as the suspect's face was covered with some sort of cloth. Both said it was a black man, as they caught a glimpse of his wrist while he was holding the gun.

Ferdinand described in great detail the shirt the bank robber wore, the gun he pointed at her and the bag he gave her and ordered her to fill with money. Prosecutors pulled the exact same items out of evidence bags for her to identify.

Also on the stand Tuesday - several police officers who described the search for both suspects: defendant Brian Brown and his cousin, Ikiko Brown, who's pleaded guilty in this case.

NEWSChannel 2 photojournalist Kirk Tupaj also took the stand to vouch for the authenticity of video he shot of Whitestown Police Chief Donald Wolanin taking Ikiko Brown into custody.

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