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Brewer sentenced to life in prison for 2019 triple murder in Livingston County

Clifford Brewer
Edith Brady-Lunny
Clifford Brewer addressed Valerie Brewer, daughter of victim Norman Walker, during the sentencing hearing.

A Livingston County man was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday in the 2019 shooting deaths of his wife, his son and a neighbor.

Clifford Brewer, 55, was convicted in August of killing Shirley A. Brewer, 48; Christian Brewer, 27; and his neighbor, Norman T. Walker, 51, on Christmas night 2019, in Cullom. All the victims died from gunshot wounds to the head.

Judge Jennifer Bauknecht sentenced Brewer to three life terms, plus 20 years for use of a firearm during the crime. Under Illinois law, life in prison is mandatory in cases involving the death of two or more people.

During his comments before the sentence was imposed, Brewer turned toward the gallery and spoke directly to Valerie Brewster, daughter of victim Norman Walker.

“I just want to say I’m truly sorry,” said Brewer, after maintaining his claim that the shooting was an accident. He told Brewster that Walker, his friend of 13 years, told him he was proud of Brewster and her sister, Alicia Walker Brockett.

Brewer seemed eager to move forward with the sentencing. At one point, he cut short a question by his lawyer about consecutive prison terms and he dropped a complaint about the number of times he met with his lawyers before trial.

During the trial, Livingston County State’s Attorney Randy Yedinak said police summoned to the house by a 911 call from Brewer found a washing machine running, set on a cycle to sanitize items inside. The defendant told officers he woke up and found the three dead in the Cullom home.

In victim impact statements read in court by Yedinak, Brewster and Brockett shared the loss of their father.

Brewster recalled being forced to identify her father “by his hairline but not his face” because of his injuries. She said she cannot forgive Brewer.

Brewer’s defense team of Stephen and Joshua Richards, of Chicago, claimed during the weeklong trial that Shirley Brewer shot her son and Walker. She was killed when the gun went off during a struggle for the weapon between the defendant and his wife, the defense argued.

Edith began her career as a reporter with The DeWitt County Observer, a weekly newspaper in Clinton. From 2007 to June 2019, Edith covered crime and legal issues for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. She previously worked as a correspondent for The Pantagraph covering courts and local government issues in central Illinois.
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