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Photos, testimony show victim in life and death

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Jessica Stephen/Kenosha News
August 25, 2009
— Jurors got a grim picture of Dawn Brossard as testimony resumed Monday in her husband's murder trial.

A few jurors leaned forward in their chairs as an x-ray showed a depressed fracture in the front of Dawn's head, which former Milwaukee County medical examiner Jeffery Jentzen suggested might have been caused by a sledgehammer.


A second image showed a side view photo of Dawn's crushed skull. Jentzen testified that two blows to the left side of Dawn's head might have caused that damage.


Jentzen estimated that Dawn Brossard was hit in the head at least four times. The blows could have caused a coma or killed her within moments.


David Brossard, 41, of Burlington is charged with first-degree intentional homicide for Dawn Brossard's murder.


Dawn Brossard was reported missing in October 1997. Her body was found weighted and chained in July 2003 in one of the deepest parts of Geneva Lake.


David Brossard was charged in September 2008. His trial began last week and is expected to continue through this week.


The pictures, introduced Monday as part of Jentzen's discussion of Dawn Brossard's autopsy, were shown for a few minutes and then replaced with anatomical drawings.


Defense attorney Charles Blumenfield objected to the two "gruesome" and potentially upsetting images, which Walworth County District Attorney Phillip Koss asked to show.


"It looks as if it's been caved in by whatever blows caused these injuries," Blumenfield said of the skull. "...The jury is going to want to convict somebody. And there's only one person here for them to convict. To allow them to be swayed by emotion would be improper."


Koss said the pictures were not meant to sway or stir emotion but instead intended to show the "overkill" suspected in Dawn's attack, which a former FBI analyst described last week as the excessive force used in her murder.


"This illustrates that graphically but not with gore," Koss said.


Of the thousands of available photos, the two Koss chose were not unfairly prejudicial and could be used, Judge James L. Carlson decided.


Jurors also heard Monday from a bartender who described Dawn and David Brossard's reported marital troubles, as well as a former Union Grove man who said he had an intimate relationship with Dawn while she was married.


Bartender Linda Stammers testified briefly that Dawn talked about David laying out their wedding pictures, her wedding dress and a gun before she disappeared.


Days after Dawn disappeared in October 1997, Stammers told investigators that Dawn mentioned the incident a couple months before and described it as having happened a few months before that.


In court Monday, Stammers thought perhaps Dawn mentioned the incident two or three weeks before she disappeared.


Jurors also heard from Frederick Tubbin, who said he had an intimate relationship with Dawn Brossard.


They met while he did electrical work at the Burlington bank where she worked and where she was last seen Oct. 24, 1997.


Tubbin said he thought Dawn Brossard was getting a divorce when they began dating.


The two broke up after Tubbin learned Dawn was involved with other men. But by the fall of 1997, the two had reconciled, and Dawn Brossard was frequently spending the night at Tubbin's Union Grove home.


Tubbin said he last talked to Dawn Brossard on the phone at 6:55 p.m. Oct. 24. He said she planned to go to her mother's home to see her sister and pick up a Halloween costume for one of Tubbin's young sons.


He never talked to her again and did not try to reach her.


Walworth County Sheriff's Department Detective John Ennis began testifying late Monday afternoon. He was on scene after Dawn Brossard's body was pulled from Geneva Lake.


His testimony is expected to continue today.


Editor's note: The Kenosha News, Racine Journal-Times and Janesville Gazette are teaming up in a cooperative effort to cover the trial of David Brossard in Elkhorn. Each day, each newspaper will carry shared coverage of the trial, and information also will be available at the papers' Web sites.

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