COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Darron Brewer, realizing he was gay, came out of the closet and was no longer in love with his wife — but he did not want the woman dead, his attorney said.
The 26-year-old Logan Square man and his younger brother, Dujuan Powe, are on trial for the murder of Kenyatae Collier-Brewer, found dead in the trunk of her car in 2009.
Cook County prosecutors said during opening statements that the two brothers hatched a plan to kill Brewer's 22-year-old wife and collect on a spousal life insurance policy provided through his employer, the U.S. National Guard.
Those benefits "were about to end because their marriage was going to end," Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Jeff Allen said Monday, adding that jurors would hear testimony from Brewer's "gay boyfriend."
"Greed is the only word to describe why Kenyatae had to die," Allen said.
The two brothers allegedly devised a murder plot in early October 2009, but they failed in their first attempt, Allen said. Powe, who goes by the name "Scooter," was supposed to surprise Collier-Brewer in her home in the 3700 block of West Belden Avenue and "choke her to death."
"He saw her coming out of the bathroom, he couldn't do it," Allen said. "Instead of killing her, [he] had sex with her, consensual sex."
After Collier-Brewer "cried rape" to her husband, the two brothers plotted a fake carjacking that would end with her slaying, he said.
On Oct. 25, 2009, Collier-Brewer picked up her husband and their two children on the South Side after getting off work, aiming to drive the family to their West Side home, Allen said. Her husband took the wheel while she dozed in the front seat.
Brewer took a detour, going more than a mile out of his way to get gas at a station at 59th Street and Racine Avenue.
There, Allen said, Powe, wearing a mask from the movie "Scream," ambushed the family and forced Collier-Brewer at gunpoint into the car trunk.
The incident, captured by a surveillance system, ultimately proved to be Brewer's undoing, he said.
"You'll see [Brewer] rearrange items in the trunk that will become her coffin," Allen told the jury. "You'll see the fake carjacking go down."
About 24 hours later, police discovered Collier-Brewer's body after her husband reported her missing and provided the location in the 2200 block of North Tripp Avenue.
She suffered two gunshots to the head, "messengers of death," as prosecutors referred to them.
The gun that prosecutors claim Powe used to kill her was later found at his girlfriend's home, stuffed between mattresses stacked high like those in the fairytale "The Princess and the Pea."
"[Brewer] planned it, and then did it," Allen said, asking jurors to find both men guilty of Collier-Brewer's murder.
But attorneys for both Brewer and Powe maintain their clients are innocent of the charges, arguing in turn that the other brother is the killer.
"Scooter had his own plan. Scooter comes up with a mask and and gun ... and he pulls a carjacking," said defense attorney Rebecca Washtenaw. "Darron puts his head in the sand."
Powe's public defender Brian Walsh told jurors that her client "was not in on the plan, did not take part in the plan," he said.
Powe's brother "wanted out of his relationship so bad he wanted to kill her," Walsh said.
The trial is expected to last the remainder of the week.