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Saturday, September 24, 2011

[TN] Deliberate news blackout on ex-deputy's murder of wife Jennifer Cunningham Brewer

Former Blount County Sheriff's deputy /ex Rockford police officer Danny Ray Brewer has been charged with murdering his wife Jennifer Lee Cunningham Brewer.

...The sheriff's office has clamped a virtual news blackout on the case, with Sheriff Jim Berrong declining to answer questions about it and no details being provided beyond a news release the agency has issued... The Blount County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday said it will not release an incident report surrounding the homicide arrest... Officials have cited a 31-year-old state attorney general's opinion as the basis for not releasing the incident report on the killing...

I hadn't posted about Jennifer's death yet because I was waiting and hoping for something more personal - anything at all to be said about Jennifer besides descriptions of the crime scene. I was hoping a reporter would post an article about what she was like, how much her family loves her, or something that acknowledged that she was more than a victim of murder, something that recognized that a real woman was stolen from her own life. Today I found Jennifer's death notice.

July 30, 1982 – September 08, 2011
Jennifer Lee Cunningham Brewer, age 29 was born July 30, 1982 in Atlanta, Georgia. She then moved with her family to Claxton, Tennessee in 1986. Jennifer grew up loving horses, spending time on the lake and camping with her family... In 2007, Jennifer was blessed with a daughter... Jennifer is survived by her daughter... step-daughters... her parents... brother... nephew... grandfather... and many aunts, uncles and cousins from across the country... [Full obituary here]


Stryker760 writes:
Why the news blackout in this case and not others? A “pending investigate” can’t be the reason as I’ve read about other cases while they were being investigated.
This is very strange, indeed.

asdf writes:
'News blackout'= cop speak for: If the press gets a hold on his cop record they will find a pattern of behavior that will not reflect well on the departments that employed him.

While Danny Brewer served as a Rockford police officer he caused a crash with his police vehicle that killed a woman, Jennifer Bean. The resultnig $5M lawsuit against the Blount County Sheriff's Department and the Rockford Police Department was settled, and Danny Brewer went BACK to being Blount County Sheriff's deputy. The records are sealed on the crash incident too. Why he is no LONGER a Blount County Sheriff's deputy hasn't been addressed in any articles I've read.

By Iva Butler
2011-09-23 2011
[Excerpts] A former Blount County law enforcement officer appeared in court Friday on criminal homicide charges involving the death of his wife. Danny Ray Brewer, 37, was appointed a public defender, attorney Mack Garner, to represent him. Blount County Assistant District Attorney General Shari Tayloe will be the prosecuting attorney... Blount deputies answered a call of a shooting at 11:19 a.m. on Sept. 8 to an apartment complex on Sevier Avenue. There they found a naked Brewer screaming and covered in blood in his apartment, according to the police report. He was escorted from the room and the gun believed to have been used in the shooting was recovered. They found his wife, Jennifer L. Brewer... [Full article here]

By Robert Wilson
September 23, 2011
[Excerpts] The Blount County Public Defender's Office was appointed today to represent a former law-enforcement officer accused of shooting his wife to death earlier this month. Danny Ray Brewer, 37, appeared this morning before General Sessions Judge Michael Gallegos, who assigned the defender's office to represent Brewer and set another hearing for Sept. 30 to determine how the case will proceed. Brewer is accused of shooting his wife, Jennifer Brewer, 29, at their Sevier Avenue apartment Sept. 8. Jennifer Brewer was taken to Blount Memorial Hospital where she died. Danny Brewer was arrested at the scene... Brewer is a former deputy with the Blount County Sheriff's Office, having served separate two-year stints separated by a three-month period when he was an officer with the Rockford Police Department. It was during Brewer's Rockford employment that he was involved in a collision with a vehicle driven by a Blount County woman in which the woman was killed... The sheriff's office has clamped a virtual news blackout on the case, with Sheriff Jim Berrong declining to answer questions about it and no details being provided beyond a news release the agency has issued. Officials have cited a 31-year-old state attorney general's opinion as the basis for not releasing the incident report on the killing... However, another court document obtained by the News Sentinel indicates Jennifer Brewer died as a result of a shotgun blast to her chest. [Full article here]


By Natalie Neysa Alund
Thursday, September 22, 2011
[Excerpts] The Blount County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday said it will not release an incident report surrounding the homicide arrest of a former officer because there's an active investigation. Danny Ray Brewer, 37, was arrested Sept. 8 after his wife Jennifer Brewer, 29, was found shot in Brewer's Sevier Avenue apartment... On Sept. 11, The Daily Times newspaper in Maryville attributed additional details about the arrest to a Sheriff's Office report. When asked how that report was obtained, Sheriff's public information officer Marian O'Briant responded: "They probably saw the report when it was erroneously put in the stack with the other reports from that day. That was an error, and should not have happened." O'Briant said Blount County Attorney Craig Garrett had advised the Sheriff's Office not to release the report, citing a state attorney general's opinion from October 1980 which they argue states the report is not a public record. Frank Gibson, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, said Wednesday that opinion is nonbinding. "The use of that decision is abused regularly by law enforcement," Gibson said. "That case is about investigative records and investigative files and no one can claim that the incident report of a crime is part of any investigative file. He said the opinion is meant to protect records such as witness statements that are a product of an investigative record in a criminal case... An arrest warrant obtained Wednesday from Blount County General Sessions Court shows Brewer's wife died as a result of a shotgun blast to the chest... [Full article here]


By Natalie Neysa Alund
Monday, September 19, 2011
[Excerpts] A court hearing Monday for a former Blount County corporal accused of fatally shooting his wife was postponed because he has an undisclosed medical issue. Danny Ray Brewer, 37, did not appear in a Blount County courtroom for his scheduled preliminary hearing on the homicide charge, and the prosecutor handling his case would not divulge his status. Regardless, at the request of Assistant District Attorney General Clinton Frazier, General Sessions Judge Michael A. Gallegos rescheduled Brewer's hearing to Friday. When asked what the medical issue was, Frazier declined to elaborate. He also did not say if Brewer remained incarcerated... Brewer served two separate stints with the Sheriff's Office as well as time on the former Rockford Police Department. He was hired by the Sheriff's Office in July 1998, then resigned from there in April 2000. In May 2000, Brewer took a job with Rockford, but resigned in August of 2000 to return to work for the Sheriffs's Office. He resigned in 2002. While serving as a Rockford officer, Brewer was involved in a crash that killed a 29-year-old Blount County woman... Brewer was temporarily placed on administrative leave. The fatal crash resulted in a $5 million lawsuit... [Full article here]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal fatality fatalities murder tennessee state politics]


  1. Jenn was an intelligent, sweet woman. She was loved by her family and her many friends. And yes, the report needs to be open to the public. Making easy for an accused murderer is wrong.

  2. Judge Michael Gallegos set a Nov. 9 preliminary hearing date for Danny Ray Brewer

    Knoxville News Sentinel.
    September 28, 2011
    [Excerpts] ...The Blount County Sheriff's Office, however, won't release the incident report recounting the arrest of Danny Ray Brewer, who is a former Blount County corporal... The refusal to release the report puts an unnecessary veil of secrecy around the case that raises questions about the investigation that only transparency can answer... When an officer goes to a house where there's a report of a domestic assault or a store that's been burglarized, he or she fills out an incident report. Incident reports are public records... The Blounty County Sheriff's Office, however, is treating the Brewer incident report as an investigative document and refuses to release it... Public records laws are in place as a check against abuses by public agencies. The Blount County Sheriff's Office is showing contempt for the public it is supposed to serve by operating in secret. Sheriff James Berrong should release the incident report in the Brewer case to bolster the public's trust in his department. [Full article here]

  4. AnonymousJuly 06, 2012

    god tells us "judge not that ye be judged, wait until it's over than make your judgment!

  5. Only got 15 years. Unforgivable.


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