Man sentenced for murder of West Michigan accountant

Posted at 12:33 PM, Aug 29, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-29 18:26:50-04

CENTREVILLE, Mich. – The man convicted of killing a Sturgis accountant in his office was sentenced Friday in a St. Joseph County courtroom.

Andy Brown during sentencing for the murder of his boss, David Locey.

Andy Brown, 37, maintained his innocence while speaking before the court Friday morning as he was sentenced to 37 1/2 years in prison.  "I'd like this court to now despite mistakes I've made that I'm a loving person with a big heart and I'm innocent," he said.

His wife said she stands by Brown and they plan to appeal.

On July 14th, a jury found Brown guilty of second-murder of his boss, CPA David Locey, 70, and guilty of felony firearm.

Locey's son spoke on behalf of the family Friday remembering his dad as his best friend, and recalling the day their lives forever changed. "I have spent countless days just in my own mind what his decision was to execute and he did execute my father would actually do in solving his current embezzling allegation."

"In the past he was given numerous second chances both from others as well as my father if he doesn’t have the ability to learn from his own mistakes I feel we must take it upon ourselves as a society to learn from his mistakes and not allow Andy brown to make any more decisions for himself," he said.

Brown stared blankly across the court room as he spoke, many of them wearing orange, Locey's favorite color.

"No human being that has a caring heart can perform such a feat for such a period of time during such an emotional trial, the jury members themselves cried and showed more emotion than Andy Brown did at his very own murder trial. How someone could look into a persons eyes that had done nothing than try to help him get back on his feet pull out a gun then shoot that person not once but three time," he said.

“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.”

David Locey, Sturgis, Mich.

“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.