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Defendant's brother disputes evidence

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Jessica Stephen/Kenosha News
August 28, 2009
— Attorney Charles Blumenfield got to the nuts and bolts of David Brossard's defense Thursday afternoon during testimony about the bolts and chain used to keep Dawn Brossard concealed underwater.

"I'm afraid it's rather dry testimony," Blumenfield apologized.


Part of the state's case against David Brossard, 41, of Burlington has hinged on his alleged access to the bolts, chains and concrete blocks used to keep Dawn Brossard submerged for six years in one of the darkest depths of Geneva Lake; prosecutors allege David Brossard would have had access to the implements while working at Action Marine, where he ran the service department.


Throughout David Brossard's nearly two-week trial, Blumenfield has slowly and steadily chipped away at that theory. Keith Brossard, David's brother and former owner of Action Marine in Burlington, helped Blumenfield make his case Thursday.


"Using this type of chain would be like tying your boat to the dock with kite string," Keith Brossard said as he examined the rusty chain investigators found wrapped around Dawn Brossard's body.


"It's not strong. It would rust. It's not continuous link. It's just a twist. It would pull apart."


As for the so-called "JH" bolts used to connect the chains and concrete blocks investigators found, Keith Brossard said he never carried those at Action Marine and it would be "highly unlikely" they were used in his business.


Concrete blocks often are used for no-wake buoys, such as the ones that dot the Geneva Lake shoreline to warn boaters to travel slowly, Keith Brossard said. But the chain on those buoys is much thicker than the chain found around Dawn Brossard.


"The chain is the biggest link because you wouldn't use that type of chain," he said. " The lake buoys have a chain about twice as heavy as this."


Keith Brossard was one of more than 25 people who have testified since Blumenfield began calling witnesses Wednesday.


Blumenfield was tight-lipped Thursday about the extent of his witness list, but he promised to call an expert this afternoon to refute earlier testimony from a former FBI analyst who testified for the state.


As he built his case Thursday, Blumenfield questioned former Kenosha County resident William Van Remmen, 53, of Union Grove.


Van Remmen said he couldn't remember having a sexual relationship with Dawn Brossard because he drank too much Jack Daniels over the years. He also was unsure whether he told the truth when he told an investigator that he had been involved with Dawn Brossard.


But there was one thing he knew for sure.


"I did not want to get involved or come here," Van Remmen said. "I have nothing bad to say about that woman. She was a nice person. ... That I do recall."


Several witnesses, including one long-time friend of David's who drove 11 hours from New York state to take the stand, testified that David Brossard was slow to anger. Others talked about a man who reportedly harassed Dawn Brossard.


A Walworth County Sheriff's Department deputy said he gave Dawn a canister of pepper spray nine days before she disappeared because the man had caused a problem at the Burlington bank where she worked.


Throughout the trial, Blumenfield has suggested someone else might be responsible for Dawn Brossard's death. He also has inferred that her marital infidelities might have had something to do with her murder.


Testimony is expected to continue today. Jurors were told to expect the case to go into next week.



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