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Trial to begin in Brossard case

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Pedro Oliveira Jr.
August 16, 2009
— Twelve years after Dawn Brossard disappeared and six years after her chained body was found at the bottom of Geneva Lake, her husband goes on trial Monday for her murder.

Dawn M. Brossard was 29 when she disappeared. She was reported missing in October 1997 after she didn’t show up at work at the State Financial Bank of Waterford in Burlington.


Her body was found at the bottom of Geneva Lake in July 2003.


Her husband, David A. Brossard, 40, Burlington, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide.


Prosecutors and police declined to speak with the Gazette about the case in advance of the trial, but court documents and earlier testimony indicate they will attempt to convict Brossard with circumstantial evidence.


Defense attorney Charles Blumenfield has said the prosecution has no physical evidence and its best witness isn’t credible.


The last person to see Dawn alive was David, who told police he met her outside the bank the day before she was reported missing to tell her he didn't need help removing piers, according to the criminal complaint.


David told authorities he talked with Dawn in his truck for 15 minutes in the bank parking lot, according to the criminal complaint. He told detectives he asked her out for dinner, but she declined.


David told investigators Dawn then exited his truck and walked toward the bank, and he went home for the night, according to the criminal complaint.


Nearly six years later, an off-duty Racine County sheriff's deputy with the equipment and training to dive deeply found Dawn’s body at the bottom of Geneva Lake. The diver had been looking for shipwrecks and had no connection to the investigation, Walworth County Sheriff's Capt. Dana Nigbor said in an earlier interview.


The watch on Dawn's body had stopped at about 8:15. A jeweler told detectives the watch would not have operated long after being submerged, according to the criminal complaint.


The body was in 117 feet of water, just off Conference Point near Williams Bay, one of the deepest spots in the lake, according to the criminal complaint.


The body was bound at the knees and chest with several feet of chains, according to the criminal complaint, and concrete blocks were recovered.


Police say a distinctive hex bolt was used to affix the chains and concrete blocks to Dawn's body to anchor it to the bottom of the lake. The bolts, chains and concrete blocks are similar to those used at Anchor Marine, the Burlington business where David worked in 1997 as a mechanic, according to the criminal complaint.


Police interviewed several people who knew Dawn before she went missing, and they told investigators she was afraid of David.


Several witnesses who had contact with Dawn said Dawn told them about an occasion when David left on their bed Dawn’s wedding dress, pictures from their wedding, a gun and a note saying, “Till death do us part.”


When interviewed by police, David confirmed the incident but denied leaving a gun on the bed.


According to the criminal complaint, David and Dawn were having affairs, fighting and discussing divorce in the days leading up to Dawn's disappearance.


Carol Badoni, who at the time was having an affair with David, told police David followed Dawn and watched her meet men. He grew so angry that one day he said he might kill her, chain her to concrete blocks and drop her in Geneva Lake, Badoni testified at an earlier hearing.


"This happened exactly how David Brossard said it was going to happen," she testified.


Blumenfield declined to speak with the Gazette about the case before the start of the trial, but said during his client’s preliminary hearing in September 2008 that Badoni has fantasies and can't be believed.


Badoni never told police about David's alleged statements until six years later, after learning in media reports that Dawn's body was found, Blumenfield said. And she continued to sleep with David after his alleged statements despite knowing that his wife was missing, he said.


"She didn't do anything a rational human being would do," Blumenfield said.


Badoni also testified that David might be the father of her child and might be tied to the mob, both outrageous allegations, he said.


And she has taken medication for depression and has attempted suicide multiple times, landing her in mental institutions, Blumenfield said at the preliminary hearing.


"She is a very troubled soul," he said. "I think she has a great deal of inventive capability."


Dawn Brossard’s death originally was investigated by the Racine County Sheriff’s Office and eventually fell in the cold case files. The case was reopened after the body was found.


David Brossard’s trial is scheduled to last two weeks. It’s expected to attract media from Racine, Kenosha and Milwaukee counties, and ABC News' "20/20" reportedly has taken interest in the case.


David Brossard remains in custody on a $500,000 cash bond.



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