It’s undisputed that Logan Brewer Hearst shot and killed one Eureka teen and wounded another during an aborted drug deal in Arcata on May 26.
Not so clear is what led up to the shooting, and whether Brewer Hearst, who at barely 16 had been a major drug dealer for two years, should be tried as a juvenile or an adult.
Brewer Hearst shot 18-year-old Taevonne “Tae” Latimer three times in the back as Latimer, his cousin Daylyn Prudhomme and “J,” an underage friend, were running away.
Prudhomme, who was shot in the leg, took the witness stand Tuesday during Brewer Hearst’s “transfer” hearing, held to determine whether his case should be moved to adult court.
The 18-year-old Prudhomme was a reluctant witness, offering many an “I don’t remember.” He also contradicted statements he made to an Arcata police detective who interviewed him in June.
On Tuesday, Prudhomme testified he saw Latimer and J driving near Winco Foods that night, and he joined them for a trip to Arcata. Prudhomme couldn’t seem to get straight whether J was planning to sell drugs or buy drugs, but at any rate he had made arrangements to meet someone at a bus stop and make a deal for cocaine.
“Who were you selling to?” Deputy District Attorney Jessica Watson asked.
“I don’t know, I wasn’t the one who set it up.” He said the deal-maker was J. Prudhomme said that at one point during the drive, J said “I’m just going to jug (the person they were meeting),” meaning rip him off.
When they arrived at the designated location, Latimer, Prudhomme and J got out of the car and walked to the bus stop. Latimer and Prudhomme sat down while J talked with Brewer Hearst. Then Prudhomme realized J and Brewer Hearst were fighting, with J punching Brewer Hearst in the face.
“I grabbed (Brewer Hearst) and pushed him to the ground,” Prudhomme said. “I saw him reaching for his waistband and I just told everyone ‘Run!’ … I seen silver and I already knew it was a gun. I just said “Run” and I took off.”
Latimer and J also were running, he said, when gunfire erupted.
“I heard two or three shots at first, then a shot that hit me in the thigh, and then another shot.”
Prudhomme said he fell when he was hit, but got up and kept running. When he got to the car his cousin Tae Latimer was lying on the floor on his side. He died shortly afterward.
Asked if the shooter said anything while firing, Prudhomme said yes.
“Fuck you, you motherfuckers.”
Under cross-examination, defense attorney David Nims asked if any of the three were carrying weapons. Prudhomme insisted they weren’t.
“How do you know (J) didn’t have weapons?” Nims asked.
“We don’t do that type of stuff.”
Questioned again by prosecutor Watson, Prudhomme said he couldn’t remember what Brewer Hearst did when J was hitting him in the face.
“When (J) was punching Logan what did Logan do?”
“Was he punching back?”
In June Prudhomme told a detective there may have been “two or three” people fighting with Brewer Hearst, and that he was holding Brewer Hearst while J punched him. He also said that when Brewer Hearst was on the ground, J took a bottle of “Lean” from his pocket.
“Lean” is an illegal mixture of codeine cough syrup, soda and sometimes hard candy, and it was one of the many items Brewer Hearst was offering for sale.
“He sold drugs,” Dr. Andrew Renouf testified Tuesday under questioning by Watson.
“He sold a wide variety of drugs. And while not specific, my impression was he sold a considerable volume of drugs.”
Renouf, a psychiatrist who evaluated Brewer Hearst, said the teen began selling marijuana at age 13 and by the time he was 14 he was marketing opioids, hallucinogens, codeine, cocaine, Ritalin, Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin among others.
“Did you ask him where he got the drugs?” Watson asked.
“No, I didn’t ask him that. It didn’t seem relevant and I also didn’t want to put Logan in a position where he would be naming sources.”
Under questioning by Nims, Renouf said his concern was Brewer Hearst’s safety.
“When you’re procuring large quantities of illegal substances, then the people you’re buying from are not safe people to be around.”
His customers were “other high school students, college students, college-aged people and other adults.”
Renouf said it was never considered that the drugs were provided by the boy’s parents. (Brewer Hearst’s father, “Goody” Hearst, died during an epileptic seizure in 2017. He lived with his single working mother, Nikole Brewer.)
Nikole Brewer testified she and her former husband were both medical marijuana patients who smoked in front of their son. She had never seen him use marijuana, although she once found a bottle of pills that she flushed down the toilet. She also was concerned that her son sometimes seemed “lethargic.”
Renouf said Brewer Hearst used a variety of substances daily, including on the day he allegedly killed Latimer.
“I work with a lot of (kids) in the Juvenile Hall whose drug use is as extensive as Logan’s” he said. “I don’t think I’ve evaluated anyone whose selling of drugs was as extensive as Logan’s.”
As to Brewer Hearst carrying a firearm, Renouf said he didn’t typically use one but was worried about the planned transaction on May 26.
“It was something about this particular deal that seemed suspicious to him,” Renouf said.
“He had gotten a request, but they requested such a large amount that he was concerned about that.”
Judge Gregory Elvine-Kreis, who is presiding over the transfer hearing, must consider five factors in deciding whether to keep Brewer Hearst in Juvenile Court: the degree of his criminal sophistication; whether he can be rehabilitated prior to the expiration of the Juvenile Court’s jurisdiction; his previous delinquent history, the success of previous attempts by the Juvenile Court to rehabilitate him; and the circumstances and gravity of his alleged offense.
As the judge has remarked, there is no doubt about the gravity of the offense.
“Someone died,” Elvine-Kreis said.
As to the other four factors, two are moot. Although Brewer Hearst sold a large amount of contraband for two years, he was never caught. His criminal history is one charge of vandalism. Therefore the Juvenile Court has never attempted to rehabilitate him.
The Humboldt County Probation Department has already recommended that Brewer Hearst remain in Juvenile Court, a decision that prosecutor Watson sharply questioned Tuesday.
The hearing was expected to continue today.