Jury finds woman guilty in 1988 murder of pregnant South Bend woman
A jury found Barbara Brewster guilty in the 1988 murder of South Bend mother Miriam Rice.
The jury returned its verdict after about 90 minutes of deliberation Wednesday afternoon, ending the three-day trial.
Brewster did not testify in her own defense Wednesday. However, before closing arguments, jurors watched a videotaped interview of her from February 2018. Cold case investigator Tim Corbett questioned Brewster about her involvement of what happened on June 24, 1988.
Brewster said they saw a woman walking her dog that night. George Kearney, Brewster's boyfriend at the time, got out of the van, attacked and abducted the woman, and shoved her into the van. She said Kearney then dropped off her and her children back at their campsite at Pinhook Park and drove off with the woman. She said when Kearney returned, she saw blood in the van.
In the video, Brewster admitted that Kearney burned his clothing, her son Robert's clothes and other effects found in the van. And a week later, when she confronted Kearney about the missing woman, he told her he "took care of it" and she "wouldn't be found."
Brewster's lawyer noted that a terrible crime happened but said all of the evidence did not prove his client killed Rice. He highlighted the Crime Stoppers tip from Brewster's sister Helen that referenced only Kearney as a suspect, as well as the fact that no DNA evidence linked Brewster to the crime.
Rice's body was found on June 29, 1988, in the 1600 block of Boland Drive, near Pinhook Park. Kearney
in March. He was
of the crime.
The case had been cold for 30 years before Kearney and Brewster were arrested in July 2018.
with witness testimony after the jury was selected. Testimony continued Tuesday, with
During Tuesday's testimony, the jury heard from forensic pathologist Dr. Rick Hoover, who provided some of the gruesome details of Rice's violent death, including that between 10 and 15 percent of her skull was never recovered.
After Wednesday's verdict, the Rice family released the following statement:
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