UPDATED 3:25 p.m. | Kyle Brestan was convicted of murder Wednesday in the 2017 stabbing death of a 27-year-old Washington woman.
Brestan, 35, showed no visible emotion as the verdict was read by Judge Casey Costigan. The decision came after 9.5 hours of jury deliberation over two days.
The victim’s family members held hands in the courtroom as they waited for the decision. Brestan’s relatives watched stoically as the verdict was read from the seats they have taken directly behind Brestan during the 8-day trial.
Brestan faces life in prison when he is sentenced March 13. He also must serve 36 years in an unrelated child pornography case.
The murder charge accused Brestan of stabbing Shannon Hastings more than 100 times. Her body was found May 21, 2017, in a room at the EconoLodge on the city’s west side. Police contend she was killed five days earlier.
Among the state’s evidence was video footage collected by police from public safety and commercial surveillance cameras on West Market Street showing Brestan on a bicycle heading east away from the hotel. Police contend the stains on Brestan’s clothing were blood from the violent crime scene.
First Assistant State’s Attorney Brad Rigdon argued in closing remarks to the jury on Tuesday that drugs and money were behind the slaying. Text messages exchanged between the couple shortly before her death revolved around crack cocaine the two shared and how they would pay for it.
"The jury’s guilty verdict is an incredibly important step in seeing justice for Shannon Hastings. We want to thank lead detective Todd McClusky and the entire Bloomington Police Department for their tireless and excellent work in this case. We could not have gotten to this verdict without the endless support from State’s Attorney Don Knapp and every person in our office," Rigdon and the other prosecutor in the case, Aaron Fredrick, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
Defense lawyer Stephanie Wong asked jurors to pay close attention to what she described as multiple examples of reasonable doubt in the case. The testimony of two women who claim they saw Hastings after May 16 casts doubt on the state’s theory that Brestan killed Hastings prior to his bike ride across town to his home on Davis Street, Wong argued.
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