Police have charged 18-year-old Darriynn Ronnell Brown with murder in the death of four-year-old boy Cash Gernon after new lab evidence came to light.
The charges come four weeks after Gernon was allegedly grabbed from his bed before being stabbed to death on a Dallas street on May 15.
Brown was charged with kidnapping and theft last month and reportedly attempted to kidnap a two-year-old girl in February but was thwarted.
Darriyn Brown (left) is charged with kidnapping and murdering four-year-old Cash Gernon in Dallas, Texas on May 15. He is now charged with murder in Cash’s death. If found guilty, he faces a minimum sentence of life in prison and could face the death penalty
While police didn’t say what the new evidence was, Dallas police said it linked Brown to the toddler at the time of his death, leading to the murder charge.
If found guilty, the death penalty in Texas automatically carries a life sentence and even the death penalty. The desired sentence will be determined by the prosecutors before the trial begins.
“Evidence submitted to the lab has been returned and links Darriynn Brown to Cash Gernon at the time of his death,” the Dallas Police Department said in a brief statement on its website on Wednesday, updating the case.
“That is why he is also charged with Capital Murder,” the statement concluded.
Brown has said he’s not the teenager caught on a security camera taking Cash Gernon out of his crib — where he slept next to his twin brother — in May.
The toddler was later found dead by a jogger on the morning of May 15, dumped in the middle of a street about a mile from his home, covered in blood.
This harrowing video obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com earlier this month shows the moment when a man – reportedly Brown – snatched Cash from his bed
Heath Harris, Brown’s attorney, said Wednesday evening that he was frustrated at the slow pace at which authorities were moving, but said he hoped the latest indictment would mean he would now have access to evidence.
“It’s almost a month after this tragedy and I’m still waiting to prepare this child’s defense,” he said. “We can’t do that until we have all the evidence.”
Speaking with the Dallas Morning NewsHarris said he was concerned the case was biased.
“This is not an open and closed case. Even if you believe that is [Brown] on the video, it doesn’t mean he killed the child,” he told the outlet. “The world is actually hurting this whole community by saying, ‘That’s him.'”
Brown’s attorney also said he was waiting for a doctor to assess his client’s mental health to determine if he is competent to assist in his own defense.
In the meantime, Harris said speculation about the case and the release of the surveillance footage from the nursery has made it harder for Brown to get a fair trial.
Police said for weeks they expected to file a murder charge against Brown once the forensic evidence returned from the lab.
“There’s no question who took him, and once I get the lab report back, there’ll be no doubt who killed him,” Lieutenant Carrie Wise said at a community meeting in late May.
A neighbor of murdered 4-year-old Cash Gernon says he caught the man they believe is Darriynn Brown on CCTV when he tried to break into cars in his driveway a month before the boy was killed
The neighbor and others said they saw a man who matched Brown’s description to police “several times,” but there was no follow-up. In the image above it is said that Brown packed up Gernon’s house weeks before his death
Surveillance footage from Cash’s bedroom shows a man standing over the boy and his twin brother’s crib at approximately 5 a.m. on May 15, before grabbing Cash and walking out of the room.
The man is then shown to return about two and a half hours later, lifting the blanket covering Cash’s twin brother, before leaving again.
Cash was staying with his father’s ex-girlfriend, Monica Sherrod, who reported him missing about five hours after he was taken from the house.
She identified the man in the surveillance footage as Brown — who lives in a nearby neighborhood — according to an affidavit of an arrest warrant seen by the Dallas Morning News. He was arrested later that day.
Cash’s twin brother has since been reunited with his mother, who was looking for the boys after their father – who is wanted for felony in Harris County – left them with Sherrod after missing a trial in March.
Police said Brown knew Sherrod and her teenage son, but they have not yet released any information about a possible motive in the case.
Cash (pictured) was found dead by a jogger on the morning of May 15, dumped in the middle of a street about a mile from his family’s home, covered in blood
They also said Brown is the only person they believe is responsible for the boy’s death, and that no one else has been arrested in connection with Cash’s death or kidnapping.
Antwainese Square, 39, told The Dallas Morning News in May, she called the police after seeing Cash’s body on the 7500 block of Saddleridge Road just before 7 a.m. while she was running.
She said the boy’s face and the top half of his body were covered in blood at the time and that he had no shoes or a shirt.
“It breaks my heart,” Square told the paper. ‘And now I’m scared. Now I’m paranoid. Because I don’t know what happened, I don’t know what’s going on.
“I just mean to know that someone out there is capable of killing a child, which alone is disturbing.”
Brown also tried to grab a toddler, a two-year-old girl, in February, but her grandfather intervened and stopped him.
The poignant new detail emerged in an arrest affidavit released by police on Friday. The grandfather and the girl are not mentioned. Police describe how Brown entered the house and began wandering the rooms.
The grandfather says he found Brown and told him to leave or stab him with a kitchen knife, so he fled. Brown then returned and attacked the grandfather, then snatched the girl from her room and started running out of the house, it is alleged.
Officers have been seen on the 7500 block of Saddleridge Road, where Cash’s body was found on May 15
The grandfather says he got up again, caught up with them, and grabbed her back. Brown fled, he said.
It’s unclear if they knew each other or how Brown allegedly entered the house or was even targeted, but the grandfather initially chose not to press charges or even notify the police.
Neighbors say they called police about Brown for trying to break into cars in the area, but nothing was done.
Days after the incident, he said he ran into Brown at Walmart and claims Brown said, ‘Sorry I tried to take your grandchild with me’
On May 18—three days after Cash was kidnapped—the grandfather changed his mind and met detectives to tell them he wanted to press charges.