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Defense expert says 'overkill' unsubstantiated

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Jessica Stephen
August 29, 2009
— Without more evidence and without seeing where Dawn Brossard died, it is difficult to evaluate many aspects of her murder, a defense expert testified Friday.

“The less physical evidence, the more of a hypothetical you have. You speculate what happened,” said Dr. John H. White Jr., a psychologist and former police officer. “…We’re extremely hampered that we don’t know the sequence of events and the crime scenes.”


White refuted suspect analysis and assertions about “overkill” made by former FBI analyst Mark Safarik, who testified last week for the prosecution.


Safarik testified that Dawn Brossard’s killer likely left her in Geneva Lake to misdirect a police investigation. The killer also would need access to chains, concrete blocks and a boat. Safarik did not identify a suspect, including David Brossard.


White would not give a definite opinion about a possible suspect in Dawn Brossard’s death either, largely because investigators had no crime scene, which White said is considered key in criminal investigative analysis, also known as offender profiling.


White also testified that he would not label the State Financial Bank parking lot in Burlington, where Dawn was last scene, a crime scene. Without evidence, White wasn’t even sure investigators could properly conclude that Dawn Brossard was taken from the parking lot.


“There’s really nothing, nothing physical anyway, to suggest the offender took her from the bank parking lot. It’s speculation. We just don’t know.”


White said he could not give an opinion about possible “overkill” in Dawn Brossard’s death.


“It’s difficult to judge when you don’t have the actual death scene. You don’t know if there was a struggle,” he said.


Safarik suggested that Dawn Brossard’s killer used excessive force, or “overkill,” in delivering crushing blows to her head. But, White said, that was a tough determination without evaluating the scene for signs of struggle or blood spatter.


“I hate to sound redundant, but you’ve really got to analyze the death scene,” White said.


Authorities have not determined where Dawn Brossard, 29, was killed. She disappeared in October 1997. Her body was found weighted and chained in July 2003 in Geneva Lake.


Her husband, David Brossard, 41, of Burlington was charged in September 2008 for her murder. His trial began Aug. 17 and is expected to continue next week with closing arguments.


Defense attorney Charles Blumenfield rested his case Friday after calling more than 30 witnesses in three days. David’s father, George Brossard, was the last witness.


George Brossard, 71, of Burlington said his family printed flyers and mailed them to family and friends in Florida, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Las Vegas.


George Brossard remembered his daughter-in-law as a fellow Chicago Bears fan and a “sweetheart,” who seemed disinterested in working through her marital problems with David.


George Brossard said he and his wife moved in with David after Dawn disappeared to help him financially, particularly as he struggled to pay the mortgage on the home he and Dawn had built. George Brossard described his son as an honest and passive man, not easily angered.


Editor’s note: The Kenosha News, Racine Journal-Times and Janesville Gazette are teaming up to cover the trial of David Brossard in Elkhorn. Each day, each newspaper will carry shared coverage of the trial.



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