LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — The defense for a man accused of triple homicide began Monday in Clifford Brewer’s criminal trial.
Brewer faces six charges of first-degree murder, two counts each for the deaths of wife Shirley Brewer, son Christian Brewer, and neighbor Norman Walker. All three were discovered dead from gunshot wounds on Christmas Day in 2019.
However, Brewer’s defense claims that Shirley is to blame for the death of Christian Brewer and Norman Walker, before dying of a gunshot wound in a struggle with Clifford.
Brewer has declined to testify, so the defense will rely on other witnesses in their quest to prove Brewer’s innocence.
The defense called forensic pathologist Dr. Shaku Teas to testify on Monday, who said that the gunshot wound on Shirley Brewer’s temple was “atypical.”
Dr. Teas said the appearance of the wound is consistent with an accidental gunshot during a struggle, which is what Brewer described in a recorded interview.
During said interview, Brewer claimed he was trying to prevent Shirley to holding a gun to her head, and the fatal shot was fired while Brewer struggled to get the gun away from Shirley.
The defense also called to the stand Bonnie LaCroix, daughter of Clifford and Shirley Brewer.
LaCroix testified that her mother became more distant in the months prior to her death, and had complained of health issues taking a toll on her mental health.
LaCroix pointed to Shirley’s birthday, only a few days before the shooting, as an example of her declining mental health. Shirley was drinking heavily and listening to sad music rather than celebrating, said LaCroix.
Additionally, LaCroix said Shirley had begged her to come back to Illinois from her residence in Texas, where Bonnie is enlisted in the Army. When LaCroix couldn’t come to Illinois, Shirley became “distraught.”
Finally, LaCroix said she had access to Shirley’s Facebook and had screenshots of Shirley’s conversations with Norman Walker, whom she is accused of killing. In these conversations, Shirley discussed overdosing on a bottle of pills.
Closing arguments and jury deliberations are expected to begin on Monday.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.