Man found guilty in “emotional” murder trial of St. Joseph Co. business owner

Posted at 5:11 PM, Jul 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-14 18:20:53-04

CENTREVILLE, Mich. – The jury found Andy Brown, 37, guilty of second-murder of his boss, CPA David Locey, 70, and guilty of felony firearm. As the St. Joseph County Circuit Court clerk read the verdict late Friday morning, it was hard to find a dry eye in the room: several of the 12 jurors were red-eyed and both families of Brown and Locey wept silently.

Brown stared blankly across the court room as the clerk read his fate, his wife Heather in tears, while the Locey family sat in orange, David Locey’s favorite color, hearing some words of justice.

“This has been the most emotional case of my life,” said John McDonough, St. Joseph County Prosecutor. “David Locey has an incredible family, incredible friends, and incredible staff that have been nothing but gracious to us throughout the entire process.”

McDonough told Fox 17 this was a case they felt confident pushing to trial. He called the three days of jury deliberation “long and thoughtful,” but said the verdict was “compromised.”

“I have a feeling there were a couple of people who compromised their decision,” said McDonough. “My gut, I think the majority of them were going to convict on first-degree, but they made a compromise. It was a compromise that we’ll deal with.”

Defense Attorney Michael Hills said they’re appealing the verdict immediately; they poked holes in the investigation during their closing argument last Thursday.

“We’re obviously very disappointed with the verdict. I think Andy is in shock right now. We’re going to start working on the appeal right away,” said Hills.

As Fox 17 has been reporting, McDonough called Brown “desperate” in the days leading up to Locey’s murder, as he faced multiple clients’ claims of embezzlement.

During the morning of the murder on October 2, 2013, cell phone records show Brown called his wife at 6:57 A.M., when he was about six minutes away from Locey’s office. At 7:05 A.M. Brown’s cell phone was connected to the same tower of Locey’s office. Then at 7:13 A.M., Locey clocked into work, according to ADT security records.

No gun was ever found, nor any DNA, fingerprints or shoeprints connecting Brown to the crime. However, McDonough told Fox 17 he felt there was enough evidence to prove first-degree premeditated murder.

“I wouldn’t try a case that I didn’t feel confident with. We tried the last one without a body, this one we didn’t have a murder weapon, nor could we place him directly at the scene, but we did our best. And I think justice prevailed,” said McDonough.

Records show Brown does not own a gun, but one of his clients, VIP Automotive in Coldwater reported a missing .38-caliber pistol stolen just days before the murder. In trial Hills said the investigation was incomplete because police did not examine the drawer this gun was stolen from.

Jurors asked the judge to clarify what is and is not evidence during day two of deliberation, but they were convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Brown killed Locey to convict him of felony firearm and second-degree murder.

Both sides said it was too premature to speculate on how long Brown will spend behind bars. Judge Paul Stutesman will sentence Brown on August 29 in St. Joseph County Circuit Court at 9 A.M.