Cullom Christmas Killing Victims All Shot Once In Head | WGLT

Cullom Christmas Killing Victims All Shot Once In Head

Dec 27, 2019

Livingston County State’s Attorney Randy Yedinak said Friday that the man accused of killing two family members and a neighbor Christmas morning in Cullom was drying wet hands when law enforcement arrived at the Jackson Street home.

A load of laundry with men’s clothes in the machine was going as well after 53-year-old Clifford Brewer called sheriff’s police at 2 a.m. to report finding the bodies of his wife Shirley Brewer, 48; son Christian Brewer, 27; and neighbor Norman Walker, 51. Investigators, Yedinak said, stopped the washing machine.

Livingston County State's Attorney Randy Yedinak speaks to the media after Clifford Brewer appeared in court on a video feed from the Livingston County jail Friday, Dec. 27, 2019.
Credit David Proeber / The Pantagraph (pool)

Yedinak made the remarks during Clifford Brewer’s court appearance at the Livingston County government complex Friday. Judge Jennifer Bauknecht set bond for Brewer at $5 million.

During the probable cause statement, Yedinak said Brewer told authorities he had returned home after shopping for a Christmas present for his wife and argued with her. After that, Brewer told police she called neighbor Norman Walker saying she needed a friend, which, he said, was not unusual after an argument. Brewer allegedly said Shirley Brewer and Walker went into another room, drank alcohol and played music. 

“He admitted to law enforcement at the time that no other individuals entered the house at the time the individuals appear to have been murdered,” said Yedinak.

Yedinak said Brewer claimed he went to bed himself and woke up to find blood on the stairs. 

Yedinak said investigators found all three victims had been shot once in the head—Christian Brewer in his own room, and Shirley Brewer and Walker in a different room. The coroner determined none had been self inflicted, Yedinak said. 

The prosecutor also noted Brewer gave conflicting statements about the gun found at the scene.

“At first he indicated to 911 dispatch that he thought he remembered seeing the firearm, that a neighbor was trying to sell it, then throughout the interview indicated he had never owned any firearms, and then eventually admitted purchasing the firearm for his wife," said Yedinak. 

Yedinak said Brewer did have a valid FOID card at the time.

Shirley Brewer and Christian Brewer were among the victims in the Christmas slayings in Cullom.
Credit GoFundMe / Bonnie Lacroix

The prosecutor declined to address reporter questions about the relationship between Norman Walker and Shirley Brewer.

Yedinak said such a case is very rare for Livingston County, which averages about a murder per year, if that. He said the Christmas timing also makes the case unusual. 

“I don’t know if folks remember (the case in) Emington. There was a murder-suicide there about five or six years ago and that happened, I think, two days before Christmas, so these things don’t happen very often,” said Yedinak.

State Police, Yedinak said, continue to do interviews in the case.

Brewer, Yedinak said, does not have any prior criminal history. He has been a longtime correctional officer at the state prison in Pontiac. He was placed on administrative leave Thursday.

During the hearing, Public Defender Scott Ripley noted Brewer faces some health challenges including a recent hip replacement and is medicated for depression and anxiety.

Ripley said Brewer has been without medication in the jail for several days. Yedinak said sheriff’s police will address that issue.

People like you value experienced, knowledgeable and award-winning journalism that covers meaningful stories in Bloomington-Normal. To support more stories and interviews like this one, please consider making a contribution.