Trial opens for defendant accused of killing American Airlines pilot dad, mom in Crowley

Troy Brewer was on his knees with his hands in front of his face when his teenage son fired a bullet from a 9mm Glock handgun into the man’s body, according to a theory developed by Tarrant County prosecutors.

After Carl Brewer killed his adoptive father at the family’s house in Crowley, the 17-year-old used, the prosecutors allege, dolly platforms and rope to drag the 60-year-old man from the master bedroom to a shower.

“For the blood to drain,” Anthony Salinas, a Tarrant County assistant criminal district attorney, told a jury in the state’s opening statement on Wednesday as testimony began in Carl Brewer’s trial on capital murder in the 485th District Court.

Mary Brewer, who was 64, lay downstairs in a living room. Carl Brewer had also shot his adoptive mother, once in the neck, prosecutors allege. He zipped up her body in a sleeping bag cover and put it in a cart, they allege. A plastic bag was over her head.

Mary Brewer may have been seated when Carl Brewer fired upon her, according to the prosecutors’ theory that is based on the trajectory of the bullet and the heights of the mother and son. She, too, appears to have been using her hands to block her head when she was shot.

For the two nights after the killings in November 2016, Carl Brewer stayed in the house with the bodies of his parents.

Troy Brewer was an American Airlines pilot. Mary Brewer was a nurse who worked at a Veterans Affairs hospital.

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Their carotid arteries were penetrated by a bullet, and they died within a few minutes of extensive blood loss, testified Dr. Mark Shelly, a forensic pathologist.

After smoking marijuana, Carl Brewer told a friend that he had killed his parents, and the friend called 911 to report Brewer’s statement, according to a recording of the call that prosecutors played for the jury. Police officers found the bodies at the house in the 800 block of Buffalo Court, and after an hourslong SWAT encounter, Carl Brewer was arrested.

Now 25, Carl Brewer is represented by criminal defense attorneys Jack Strickland and Steve Gebhardt. Strickland on Wednesday deferred offering an opening statement until after the state rests. Salinas is prosecuting the case with Tarrant County Assistant Criminal District Attorney Lloyd Whelchel.

A magistrate found in April 2019 that the defendant was incompetent to stand trial, and he was taken to a state mental health facility for treatment. A psychologist in March 2020 concluded Brewer was competent to stand trial, a determination that was also made earlier this year.

Defendant Carl Brewer, 25, sits in the courtroom for his capital murder trial at the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in Fort Worth on Wednesday. He is accused of shooting to death his adoptive parents, Troy Brewer and Mary Brewer, in November 2016 in Crowley.
Defendant Carl Brewer, 25, sits in the courtroom for his capital murder trial at the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in Fort Worth on Wednesday. He is accused of shooting to death his adoptive parents, Troy Brewer and Mary Brewer, in November 2016 in Crowley.

Brewer was indicted in February 2017 under a statute that alleges that he intentionally and knowingly caused the death of multiple people at the same time.

In its presentation during jury selection, the defense suggested it may argue that the evidence suggests that one of the homicides was a murder and the other a manslaughter, a reckless killing, or that the deaths were justified by self-defense.

Judge Steven Jumes is presiding at the trial.

During an off-the-record period of an evidence suppression hearing in which the defense was to argue the defendant did not voluntarily waive his right not to participate in a custodial interview, Brewer five times attempted to get the judge’s attention, asking, “Your honor?

Judge Jumes told the defendant that he would entertain Brewer’s statements or questions, but advised that the comments may be unhelpful or cause damage to his case. The defendant’s attorneys met with Brewer in a room adjacent to the courtroom known as the holdover.

After he emerged with his client and colleague Gebhardt, Strickland appeared perturbed that Brewer had declined to heed his advice not to speak to the judge.

On the record but outside the presence of the jury, Strickland dressed down his client. The defense attorney gestured to a screen that showed a still image of a Crowley Police Department interview room in which Brewer answered detectives’ questions.

Participating in the interview was a mistake, Strickland said, and Brewer was about to make a similar error.

Brewer seemed intent on repeating legal missteps, Strickland told the defendant, “until they put you in the penitentiary for the rest of your life.”

Undeterred, Brewer told Judge Jumes that he did not recall waiving his right not to respond to police inquires, but also suggested it was knowing waiver. A state district court is not the appropriate venue for the case, the defendant also argued.

“I disagree with your legal assessment,” Judge Jumes said before ruling that the defendant’s statements to the police may be presented to the jury.

If he is convicted of capital murder, Brewer would automatically be sentenced to life in prison and would become eligible for parole consideration after serving 40 years.

The trial is in recess until Thursday morning.