Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

August 2, 2012

Brewster acquitted in 15-month-old’s death

CATLETTSBURG — A Boyd Circuit Court jury on Wednesday acquitted Brian “Trinity” Brewster in the abuse death of a 15-month-old girl.

The nine-man, three-woman jury deliberated for only about 90 minutes before finding Brewster, 46, not guilty of first-degree manslaughter. He could have been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison had he been convicted.

Brewster, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., showed no outward reaction when Judge C. David Hagerman read the verdict. Afterwards, he shook hands with and embraced his attorney, Sebastian Joy, before quickly leaving the courtroom through a side door.

Members of Brewster’s family gasped when Hagerman announced the verdict. After court, they gathered in the hallway outside the courtroom, stood in a circle, held hands and prayed.

“We trusted in the process, and the process worked,” Joy said.

Boyd Commonwealth’s Attorney David Justice said he was disappointed with the verdict. However, he said he knew going in that it was going to be a difficult case to prove because there was no direct evidence linking Brewster to the crime.

Brewster was charged in the April 30, 2011, death of Cally Erica Jobe of 52nd Street. The youngster died at Charleston Area Medical Center of what the West Virginia State Medical Examiner’s Office said were head injuries caused by abuse. Dr. Allen Mock, who performed the autopsy, ruled Cally’s death a homicide.

Cally’s mother, Lakyn Jobe, 20, testified she left her daughter in Brewster’s care while she ran errands. Brewster was a friend of Jobe’s live-in fiance, Orlando “Top” Barber, and had been visiting with the couple and staying in their home.

Jobe told Kentucky State Police Detective Ben Cramer, the lead investigator in the case, that when she returned home, her daughter was wet and had been placed on a bed with a towel underneath her, and she was clenching her fists and gasping for breath. The youngster was taken initially to King’s Daughters Medical Center, then transferred to CAMC. She had no brain activity upon arriving at the Charleston hospital and was kept on life support for three days so her organs could be donated.

Jobe is charged with first-degree criminal abuse in Cally’s death for leaving the child in Brewster’s care. She also testified as a prosecution witness against Brewster.

Justice said it was likely the charge against Jobe would be amended downward due to Brewster’s acquittal because there would be “zero chance” of her being convicted of the original charge.

The case against Brewster was entirely circumstantial. Justice argued he was the only one in the home with the youngster at the time she was hurt and therefore must have been the one who inflicted her injuries.

But two jurors — both of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity — said they and other members of the panel found the commonwealth’s evidence against Brewster to be lacking. Both said the prosecution had failed to convince them beyond a reasonable doubt that he was responsible for Cally’s death.

Asked what they believed really happened to the toddler, one of jurors said it was hard to speculate “because of all the lies that were told” in the case.

Joy maintained that Jobe and Barber had conspired to pin the blame for Cally’s death on Brewster. In his closing remarks, he reminded jurors that Jobe’s cell phone records indicated there were eight conversations between the two between Jobe’s first and second interviews with Cramer, both of which took place on May 1 of last year. The first was at CAMC; the second at Jobe’s house after police came to search the residence.

While he said it may never be known for certain what actually happened to Cally, Joy told jurors there two plausible alternate explanations that didn’t involve his client. One, he said, was that Barber fell down the stairs with the child in his arms, as he’d told several people he’d done. The other was that Jobe “did something to her that she’s not telling us about.”

“Cally was wronged and whoever did that should be held responsible,” he said. “But it’s not Brian Brewster. It’s either Orlando Barber or Lakyn Jobe.”

Joy noted that several witnesses, including Jobe’s ex-boyfriend, James Reed, and her mother, Nici Clement, had testified Jobe resented her daughter and had told them her life would be better if she’d never been born.

But in his closing statement, Justice said there were several factors that pointed to Brewster’s guilt. Among them, he said, were that he never called 911 or Cally’s mother after the youngster went into distress and that he left the state after the child died. He was arrested several months later in New York while sleeping in his car.

“Why did he run? We know why people run,” he said.

Also Justice said, Barber, who was never charged in the case, told police during an interview that Brewster had told him he would take “full responsibility” for Cally’s death..

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.

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