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Jurors See Graphic Photos At Brestan Murder Trial

Kyle and Shannon
WGLT file photo
Kyle Brestan, left, is accused of stabbing 27-year-old Shannon Hastings more than 100 times. The victim was found in a west Bloomngton hotel room.

UPDATED 4:45 p.m. | Evidence collected by Bloomington police in the days after Shannon Hastings’ blood-soaked body was found in a Bloomington hotel was the focus of testimony Thursday in the Kyle Brestan murder trial.

Detective Scott Mathewson identified photos of a blood-splattered folding knife believed to be the murder weapon, two towels smeared with blood, and cigarette butts collected from a dumpster outside in EconoLodge in May 2017. The detective also showed jurors photos of jeans and shoes located in Brestan’s home.

Earlier Thursday, jurors viewed graphic photos of the 105 stab wounds that killed Hastings. The 27-year-old victim was found May 21, 2017, in a room of the hotel on the city’s west side. Brestan, 35, of Bloomington was romantically involved with Hastings.

In his testimony, Dr. Scott Denton explained the stab wounds shown in photos displayed on a screen in the courtroom. Relatives of the victim shielded their vision away from the display.

Hastings’ hands showed seven defensive knife wounds. Hastings suffered 55 separate stab wounds to the right side of her neck and more than 30 additional knife piercings to other areas of her neck. The Washington woman also suffered extensive chest wounds.

Other Suspects

Bloomington Police Sgt. Todd McClusky told jurors at least four other men were investigated and eliminated as suspects in Hastings' death before Brestan was arrested.

According to McCluskey, the men included the person whose name Hastings used to rent the room where she was found, a former boyfriend, and a man who may have served as a pimp for Hastings, who was a known prostitute.

Several cell phones collected in the motel room were a source of information for police, said McCluskey. Brestan and Hastings had a significant history of texts on one of the phones.

The final activity on Hastings phone was logged at 5:05 a.m., according to police. A police public safety camera picked up an image 35 minutes later of Brestan heading east on West Market Street on a bicycle. The photos shown blood stains on Brestan’s pants, according to police. The pants Brestan handed over to police appeared much lighter in color than those seen on camera images displayed for jurors.

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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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