In criminal law and torts, we often discuss acts of passion as a defense. The most difficult cases are often heat-of-passion cases. There are few defendants who could claim the cause for such heat-of-passion acts as Timothy John ‘TJ’ Brewer. Brewer walked in on his wife having sex in his son’s room. To make thing worse, the man was his own father — fire chief Wesley ‘Corky’ Brewer. TJ Brewer, a former sheriff’s deputy hit his wife, pistol-whipped his father, and threaten to kill his father with a handgun. He has now pleaded guilty to assault and assault on a police officer.
The couple had four children together and had over Corky Brewer, the fire chief for Moab, for dinner. TJ says that Logan told him that she was putting one of their kids to bed. However, that child came down later and TJ went looking for his wife. That is what he discovered Logan having sex with his father in his son’s bed.
Corky Brewer went home and told his wife what he did. His wife stopped his efforts to grab his gun but he then stabbed himself with knife — causing injury to both his lung and liver. TJ reportedly showed up at the hospital to try to finish off his father. Police say that he was found arguing with his uncle and told them that he wanted to “finish the job.”
Notably, TJ Brewer was jailed on suspicion of attempted murder, aggravated assault, and several other offenses. However, upon learning of the provocation, he was allowed to plead to two class A misdemeanors. The Utah Country Sheriff’s office stated that “what we found was that the charges were not as serious as suspected.” I expect that there were plenty of people admitting that they would have been hard pressed not to kill both Logan and old Corky.
TJ will have to serve 24 months on probation and pay a small fine. Corky resigned from the fire department and TJ resigned from the police department.
What is interesting about this case is that such a horrific scene would raise an obvious question of temporary insanity due to the rage and hurt caused by the betrayal of his wife and father. That could be claimed as a complete defense. However, going to the hospital would have been hard to fit into such a claim. The passage of time undermines the claim of insanity. Moreover, after the Reagan shooting, many states radically reduced the availability of the insanity defense.
What is left of this family is anyone’s guess. My question is what should be done with custody of the children. The problem with the plea is that criminal convictions often result in a loss of custody. Yet, the wife committed a heinous act of betrayal and debauchery in her son’s bed. That would hardly speak in favor of custody. What should now be done with the kids in your view?