LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — The trial of Clifford Brewer began Tuesday, and opening arguments have been heard from both the prosecution and the defense as to whether he is guilty of triple murder on Christmas Day 2019.
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.
Brewer pleaded not guilty to these six charges in January 2020.
The prosecution began Tuesday morning by claiming the facts of the case were simple. They argued that Brewer owned the handgun that killed all three victims, he was considered an expert marksman because of his job as a correctional officer, and he believed his wife was having an affair.
Prosecutors added that Brewer’s story had changed multiple times during interviews, in an effort to cast doubt on his trustworthiness and his not guilty plea.
The defense, however, claimed that Shirley Brewer shot and killed Christian Brewer and Norman Walker during a confrontation. They said that Shirley’s death was the result of a confrontation between her and her husband in an effort to get the gun out of her hands, which resulted in a fatal gunshot to Shirley.
The defense boasted of evidence proving Shirley’s depression and suicidal tendencies, as well as gunshot residue on Shirley’s dominant hand. They claimed this backs up their theory that Shirley, not Clifford, was responsible for murder-suicide, and therefore Clifford should be found innocent.
Tuesday, prosecutors called witnesses to the stand including law enforcement officers with the Illinois State Police and Livingston County Sheriff’s Office.
Additional evidence included photos from the crime scene, a phone call between Clifford and a Livingston dispatcher, and an interview Clifford had with police after the shootings.
This story will be updated as information becomes available from the ongoing trial.