Edward Brims trial on robbery, gun charges continues before Kelly

The prosecution is continuing to provide a jury with evidence and testimony in the robbery case against Edward Brims, charged with one gun-point robbery of the Ramapo convenience store Guzzles in Hillcrest on Oct. 12, 2010.

Prosecutor Richard Kennison Moran has offered the jury a video of the man leaving the business, as well as police testimony.

Today, Moran planned to provide testimony on the recovery of the gun, following up Friday with a DNA expert testifying that Brims’ DNA was supposedly  found on the weapon.

On Monday, the Guzzles clerk is scheduled to testify about being robbed and by whom.

What Brims lacks in a legal degree, he makes up with street legal training and self-confidence. At one point in January 2011, Brims told Kelly, a former Bronx prosecutor and veteran jurist, “Bring it on

Brims is representing himself in the robbery and faces a potential life sentence in prison if convicted, based upon his previous felony convictions. Ramapo police arrested Brims following a string of store robberies, but he was charged with just one.

Brims, 53, is charged with  first-degree attempted robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and assault. Attorney Martin Gotkin is  his adviser during the trial before state Supreme Court Justice William A. Kelly at the Rockland Courthouse in New City.

What Brims lacks in a legal degree, he’s made up for with  street legal knowledge from the streets and prison. He filed a legal papers in federal court concerning his arrest,  but the judge denied his motion.

He doesn’t lack confidence in the courtroom.

Last January, Brims told Kelly, “Bring it on, judge”  after arguing for nearly an hour that he is qualified and able to mount his own defense. Kelly attempted to convince him that as a career criminal with at least 20 arrests – including seven felony convictions – in New York he would be better off with a lawyer.

Brims responded he understood the seriousness of the charges, but added, “If I’m going to go down, I’m going to go down defending myself.”

He told the judge that the charges were as “phony as phony can get,” and “I spent 23 years up in the mountains in jail.”

Brims also told  the judge the legal system is against him because he’s black and his cousin is Belton Lee Brims, who was convicted of the double murder of Arnold and Elaine Sohn in December 1980.  He’s also related to Jerry Lee Brims, convicted of killing Jerry Reed in a 2000 gunfight in Spring Valley.

When Moran asked for $500,000 bail, Brims responded. “That’s not bail, that’s a ransom.”

Photo upper right of Edward Brims


Steve Lieberman

Steve Lieberman joined The Journal News as an editor in February 1984 and became a reporter during the spring of 1986. He has covered police, courts and legal issues for more than a decade, after reporting on county, town, village and state governments and general issues. He received more than a dozen state awards for writing and reporting. Born and raised in The Bronx, he has lived in Rockland since 1988.