Local News

Counselors say Chatham County Couple had a History of Problems

Posted April 19, 1998

— It's a scene that plays out over and over again around the country -- a battered wife goes back to her husband with deadly results. This time the scene ended in Chatham County, where a woman was shot and killed, police say at the hands of her husband.

The Chatham County Sheriff's office says Jesse Brewer, 52, allegedly killed his wife, then, they say, he shot his daughter and a neighbor before trying to kill himself Sunday.

His wife, Youver Anne Brewer, 49, was shot five times with a .357 magnum and died in her bedroom. Their daughter, 14-year-old Brandi Brewer, was shot in the head in her bedroom. She's listed in serious condition at Duke University Medical Center.

Listed in critical condition is Jesse "PeeWee" Austin, whom Brewer allegedly shot at a nearby dairy farm. Dairy farmer Jimmy Brooks says he knows of no reason why Austin would have been a target.

Brewer, who attempted to kill himself, is in serious condition. Both men are being treated at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

WRAL-TV5'sAmanda Lambtalked with counselors in Chatham County who were aware of the situation and tried to prevent this tragedy.

The Brewer's son Marshall Brewer says he really thought things were better between his parents.

While her son may not have seen the shooting coming, Youver Brewer apparently did. On November 10, she took out a protective order against her husband. In it she wrote:He threatened our daughter with death, said he would shoot her, called her [expletive], and started smashing her room with his fists. This has been going on for 29 years.

Counselors say Brewer and his wife had been together for almost 30 years. Last year the couple separated, after Mrs. Brewer got the protective order. In December, Brewer moved home again after completing an alcohol treatment program. Then things started to get bad again.

Kit Gruelle, who coordinates domestic-violence cases with the Chatham County courts and law enforcement, said Brewer had a history of problems with alcohol and violent behavior. She says over the past six weeks, Brewer's behavior was becoming more and more aggressive towards his wife. Sunday morning, that behavior came to a head.

Listen toauorreal audiofiles."This wasn't a little argument that was happening from time to time. This was absolute hard core terrorism at the hands of Jesse Brewer who was the father and husband."Gruelle says police made numerous calls over a 19-year period to the Brewer home. It was here that the sheriff's department says Jesse Brewer killed his wife and seriously wounded his 14-year-old daughter Brandi.

Counselors say many women stay in abusive relationships because they're more likely to be killed if they leave.

Listen toauorreal audiofiles.Nine times out of ten that's not the case. Nine times out of ten he has told her "If you leave I'll find you and I'll kill you." So she stays and she deals with the abuse because she believes that's the way she can stay alive and that's the way she can parent her children."Deputies expect to charge Brewer with murder.

Family Violence and Rape Crisis Services of Chatham County have set up a fund for Brandi Brewer. Donations for the "Brandi Brewer Fund" are being accepted at any branch of First Citizens Bank.


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