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Before fatal shooting Chicago mom pleaded ‘I live for my kids! Don’t do this!’: prosecutor


Darron Brewer

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Updated: June 24, 2013 11:17PM

Kenyatae Collier-Brewer pleaded for her life 3 1/2 years ago just before she was shot to death in the trunk of her husband’s car on Chicago’s Northwest Side.

The cries from the 22-year-old working mother of three whose marriage was ending echoed in a Cook County courtroom through the voice of Assistant State’s Attorney Jeff Allen, who twice repeated her words to separate juries Monday:

“I live for my kids! Don’t do this!”

That plea didn’t stop her killer, who Allen said put two bullets — “two messengers of death” — in Collier-Brewer’s head Oct. 26, 2009, after failing to kill her three weeks earlier. This time it would take police almost 22 hours to find her body, the prosecutor said, explaining that they only did so because the woman’s husband, Darron Brewer, couldn’t keep his mouth shut.

Now Brewer, 26, and his brother, Dujuan Powe, 23, are on trial for Collier-Brewer’s first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping. A separate jury will decide each man’s guilt at the George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building at 26th and California.

Allen said in his opening statement that Powe was the triggerman, but he said Brewer helped plan his wife’s murder to cash in on “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in life insurance money. He also said Powe had been dispatched three weeks earlier to strangle Collier-Brewer to death at her home but wound up having sex with the woman instead. Allen said it was likely consensual.

Brewer’s marriage with the woman was already nearing its end because, according to Allen and Brewer’s defense attorney, Brewer was gay and had a boyfriend of his own. The failing marriage put the life insurance money in jeopardy, Allen said.

So one night after Collier-Brewer finished work, with their two children in the backseat of his blue Monte Carlo and his wife asleep in the car, Allen said Brewer turned off the Dan Ryan Expressway at 59th Street and headed west past several gas stations until he reached one on 59th near Elizabeth and Racine.

That’s where Allen — making “air quote” motions with his fingers — said Powe committed a “fake carjack” while wearing a Scream movie Halloween mask.

Prosecutors have said Brewer drove to his home with his wife in the trunk of the car and got out with the kids. Then Powe drove to the 2200 block of North Tripp, where Allen said Powe shot Collier-Brewer twice in the head.

Allen said Brewer made several calls the next day feigning an attempt to find his missing wife by calling police, an auto pound and the morgue. But during each of those calls, the prosecutor said, Brewer failed to mention he’d been carjacked the night before on camera.

He later “found” his car and called 911, Allen said. Police responded and discovered the woman’s dead body in the trunk. Allen said Brewer also confessed to police but claimed his motive was to protect his brother. He said he feared his wife planned to tell police his brother raped her.

Rebecca Washlow, Brewer’s defense attorney, said her client really believed Powe and his wife were going to have a “conversation” early that morning about their affair — and he later remained in “deep denial” after the carjacking as he called around asking about his missing wife.

“Darron did not kill his wife,” Washlow said. “And Darron did not plan for his brother to do that, either.”

Finally Brian Walsh, Powe’s defense attorney, said prosecutors won’t be able to prove their case. And he turned the tables on Brewer.

“Darron Brewer had the motive, had the opportunity, and had the plan to kill his wife,” Walsh said.

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