Cuyahoga County

Jury Finds Brunson and Hollins on Guilty 22 Counts for Murder of Melissa Brinker


CLEVELAND ΜΆ Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley announced that a jury has
found Nigel Brunson and Anita Hollins guilty for the aggravated murder of 44-year-old Melissa
Brinker and the armed robbery of several patrons at the Cooley Lounge in Cleveland.

On October 24, 2016, Dana Thomas, 30, in the company of Brunson, 20, and Dwayne Sims, 21,
went to the Cooley Lounge on West 130th St. at the behest of Anita Hollins, 44. Hollins held a
grudge over an altercation that happened at the bar in August 2016. The customers involved in
the altercation were charged, but later acquitted.

The three defendants—Thomas, Brunson, and Sims—entered the Cooley Lounge and sat down
for a drink. After a few minutes, they ordered all the patrons to the ground and robbed them of
their purses, wallets, and cell phones.

Melissa Brinker was working her shift as a bartender. She was ordered into the back office by
Thomas, who shot her once. Brunson then went into the back room to check on her; when he
noticed she was still alive, he shot her point blank and killed her.

“Anita Hollins and her gang of assassins went to the bar for one purpose: to execute another
human being,” said Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley. “Sadly they succeeded in their mission,
and for that they will pay for the rest of their lives.”

The three men and Anita Hollins decided to present their case before 12 jurors. Prior to trial, a
fifth defendant, Garry Lake, 22, pled guilty to Robbery and served as a witness during the trial.
After trial began, Sims admitted to his role in robbing the patrons and pled guilty to Aggravated
Robbery and Kidnapping, and Thomas elected to have his case tried before the Judge, who will
announce her verdict at a later date.

The Jury found Brunson and Hollins guilty of 22 charges that include Aggravated Murder,
Murder, Aggravated Robbery, Kidnapping, Aggravated Burglary, and Felonious Assault. Both
defendants face a maximum sentence of Life Without the Possibility of Parole. Sentencing has
not yet been scheduled.

Cleveland Police Department Homicide Detectives Kathleen Carlin and Timothy Entenok along
with Third District Detective Aaron Reese conducted the investigation with assistance from the
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.

Contact: Ryan Miday, Director of Communications and Public Policy. Phone: 216.443.7488 or Email: