Andy Brown Trial Continues
The trial continues for Andy Brown, the 37-year-old from Portage, MI, who is facing first degree murder charges for the death of his boss, David Locey.
In his opening statements to the jury last Thursday, St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough spoke of Locey’s long-term commitment to Brown’s success, and Brown’s betrayal of that relationship. “This was a cold-blooded killing by Mr. Brown, deliberate and thought-out,” said McDonough.
According to McDonough, Brown lost his CPA license as a result of an embezzlement conviction back in 2005, but Locey took Brown “under his wing” and helped him to get his license back. In the years following that, Locey mentored Brown and even gave him a job in his CPA firm in 2009.
But in the weeks before the murder, the relationship apparently became strained when Brown discovered that, once again, he was facing allegations of embezzlement, and may lose his job. The allegations were the result of clients who claimed to have paid Brown directly for the work he did, but were then billed later for the same work by the firm.
McDonough spoke about the “emotional” meeting between Brown and Locey, held at the firm’s office building, that happened the day before Locey was found dead, three gunshot wounds in his head. He also touched on the gunshot residue found on Brown’s clothing, and the .38 caliber handgun he had access to.
Michael Hills, the defense attorney representing Brown, said in his opening statement that the charges were unfounded and there was no motive. According to Hills, Locey was one of Brown’s few supporters and so it made no sense for Brown to have shot him.
According to Hills, Brown was at his parents’ house and also at his father’s auto shop in downtown Sturgis during the time of the killing, so he wasn’t physically capable of having committed the crime.
He also addressed a footprint that police had found in blood at the scene that didn’t match the shoes of anyone there, including Brown. “There is no motive, and the evidence will point to somebody else, not Mr. Brown,” Hills said.
According to Tammy Brunner, a secretary at Locey CPA, who provided testimony at the trial, both Brown and Locey had appeared “very upset” after the meeting. Brown’s wife, however, who had also attended the meeting, seemed very angry by whatever had been discussed, squealing her tires as she pulled out of the office parking lot.
Brunner had not attended the meeting but had been in the office at the time and had witnessed the aftermath. She was also the person who found Locey’s body the following day and called 911. When calling in the emergency, she told the dispatcher that she thought Brown was the murderer.
Testimony was also provided by Jamie Crites, one of Locey’s friends who drove to the scene, having heard about the killing. He said that Brown was there, bent over and dry heaving, looking “distraught”. He also testified that when Locey’s wife, Cheryl, arrived, she announced that “Andy Brown did it!”
Aside from Brunner and Crites, 8 additional witnesses provided testimony on Thursday, including law enforcement and firefighters who had been at the scene. Gabriel Weekly, one of the firefighters who had been among the first responders at the scene, said that Brown had told him that he didn’t want to see Cheryl, as he “couldn’t face her.”
Brown is facing charges of first degree premeditated murder and felony firearm. First degree murder is a felony and is punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole. Felony firearm refers to the use of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and is also a felony charge. Under Michigan law, felony firearm requires a mandatory 2 year minimum prison sentence.