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Brother says shots fired in self-defense

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com 340-2355

SOMERVILLE — A man said Wednesday his only intention in shooting his half-brother's car was to end a rampage that had already injured two.

Brent Campbell of Somerville said claims by his former stepmother, Karen Campbell, that he gave her son, Cheston Jared Campbell, drugs or alcohol prior to the incident were untrue.

"We know where Jared got the drugs from, and that wasn't from here," said Brent Campbell. "Jared never got drunk at my house. Other than what he showed up with, there were no drugs at my house."

Campbell, 23, said Jared Campbell, his half-brother, came to his mobile home on Alabama 67 on March 14 and showed Xanax pills to the seven or eight people gathered there for a card game.

Campbell said some people were in the kitchen while others were out back smoking cigarettes.

Michael Beagle, a friend, came in and told Brent Campbell that his brother was outside harassing their female cousin, Campbell said.

"Jared came in the back door and he said, 'I hate to have to do this, Beagle.' He pulled his hands out of his pockets, and he had brass knuckles on his right hand," Campbell said.

Jared Campbell hit Beagle in the ribs, leaving a large bruise, and Beagle punched him back in the face, Brent Campbell said.

"Jared went outside and Andrew (Bell) went with him to try and calm him down. Andrew led Jared out to his car and was just talking to him," he said.

Campbell said he followed them into the yard, while Beagle remained on the porch.

Stabbed in face

"Jared reached down inside the car and grabbed the bowie knife and stabbed Andrew in the face," Campbell said.

The blade entered the joint of Bell's jaw, Campbell said. Campbell said he ran over to check on Bell.

"Jared started swinging the knife, saying, 'What's the matter, Beagle, you don't want some of this?' When Jared started going towards him on the porch, I left Andrew's side. I had to get the knife away from him. I never hit him. Nobody here was wanting to fight with Jared," he said.

Campbell said he used his shoulder to pin the 19-year-old against a tree and then pulled the knife from his hand.

Brass knuckles

"Andrew was sitting up, spitting blood. Jared pulled the brass knuckles out, took off running and hit him, and Andrew just folded over. He hit him two or three more times in the same spot. I guess that's what knocked all his back teeth out. He was hitting him right on top of where he'd stabbed him," Campbell said.

Witnesses dragged Jared Campbell to the ground and Brent Campbell took the brass knuckles away, he said.

That's when Jared Campbell went to his car and grabbed a stainless steel exhaust pipe, Campbell said.

Bell hid behind a door with Jared Campbell outside hitting the door with the pipe and ramming it with his shoulder, Campbell said.

"I told Andrew to go to my room and I would hold the door for him," he said. "The bone in Andrew's jaw at this point was sticking out. ... I'd never seen anything like it. It made me sick to look at it. I opened the door, and Jared had that pipe reared back, but he lowered it when he saw me.

"I said, 'Why did you did you have to bring that knife to my house? You know how I feel about knives, especially since you stabbed me,' " Campbell said, referring to an incident last year that left him crippled.

Campbell said he told his brother to leave and watched him run down the steps and climb into his car.

"Andrew walked outside and down into the yard. I don't know if he was delirious or not real coherent or what. His car was out there and he might have been trying to leave," he said.

That's when Campbell says his half-brother ran Bell over, injuring his legs, arm and back. Campbell said he stepped inside and grabbed his semi-automatic rifle.

Struck 2 vehicles

Jared Campbell struck two vehicles and sent other people in the yard, including Brent Campbell's wife, running for cover, Campbell said.

"He hit our new car, trying to run over Nate (Cook) and my wife," he said.

He said his wife and a friend, Brandy Houser, found safe harbor between the mobile home and a parked car. The porch made it to too tight a squeeze for Jared Campbell's car to go through, Brent Campbell said.

"He was going to come on through anyway. I was standing on the edge of the porch, and there was no doubt in my mind that he was going to hit the porch," Campbell said.

"When the nose of his car, his front bumper went up under my porch, I aimed straight down at the engine compartment of that car and pulled from one side of the motor to the other. I figured 11 rounds would hit something to shut that car down, but it didn't."

His brother took off, cutting doughnuts through the yard as he went, he said.

Campbell said that if he hadn't started shooting, he was sure others would have been injured.

'Running people over'

"That's what he was doing, he was running people over," Campbell said. "I wasn't trying to hurt him. I just wanted it to stop. I wanted people to stop getting hurt."

The alcohol consumption that led to Jared Campbell's hospitalization for alcohol poisoning the following day happened after he left, Brent Campbell said.

Campbell said Jared Campbell was never given alcohol at his residence but later went to his mother's home and took a bottle of moonshine.

"She (Karen Campbell) called me the next day and said he had gone over there and grabbed something out of the cabinet. She didn't know what it was. She said they found him (that morning) in a ditch," he said.

Police arrested Jared Campbell and charged him with first-degree assault in the attack on Bell.

Police Chief Joe Mann said earlier this week that an investigation into the incident showed that Brent Campbell "had probably saved some other folks from getting hurt that night."

Jared Campbell's bond was revoked on an earlier charge of first-degree assault in his brother's stabbing and a charge of hindering prosecution. Morgan County sheriff's investigators said Campbell had helped cover up a murder by hiding the victim's body.

Brent Campbell said he was afraid of being stabbed again during the March 14 incident.

"He had crippled me for life. I can walk, but that's more than what they said I'd be able to do. It's really made an impact on my life. To know what my brother's done to me, and to see that he's going to be prosecuted for it, it hurts. But it was his decisions, his choices, and nobody else made them. ... Even though it's my brother, I think he's going to have to have some kind of punishment to ever act normal," he said.

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