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Brossard found not guilty

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Pedro Oliveira Jr.
September 1, 2009
— A Walworth County jury returned a not guilty verdict late Monday on the case of a Burlington man accused of killing his wife and dumping her body at the bottom of Geneva Lake.

David A. Brossard of Burlington faced a first-degree intentional homicide charge in the 1997 death of his wife, Dawn Brossard.


Jurors deliberated for nearly seven hours. The verdict was met with a gasp from David Brossard’s family, followed by hugs and tears.


Defense attorney Charles Blumenfield said he is glad the Brossard family’s suffering is over.


“They have been through hell,” he said. “Nothing less than living hell.”


Dawn Brossard’s family left Judge James Carlson’s courtroom as quietly as they had stood for most of the trial.


“I can only hope they can find solace in the fact that an innocent man is not going to prison tonight,” Blumenfield said.


District Attorney Phil Koss said he was disappointed but satisfied with the verdict.


During 10 days of testimony, the jury was told Dawn and David were having marital problems. Both were having affairs, and witnesses said Dawn was drinking heavily, sometimes not returning home until late at night.


Dawn’s death originally was investigated as a missing person case after she failed to appear at work the morning of Saturday, Oct. 25, 1997.


The case went cold until 2003, when off-duty law enforcement officers were diving around the deepest part of Geneva Lake. Dawn’s body was weighted with concrete blocks and chains the prosecution says were easily accessible to David.


During his closing arguments Monday, Koss admitted that some pieces of the crime puzzle were missing, but he said the overall picture pointed to David Brossard as the killer.


“If you find him not guilty, you’re rewarding him,” Koss said during his closing statement. “When he put her down in that lake, he didn’t want anybody to find her.


“There is no more physical evidence because of the nature of the crime. To say not guilty is to reward him for that. Please don’t reward him.”


Blumenfield reminded the jury of their duty to come up with a just verdict, and asked them to not convict an innocent man.


“No one wants an innocent man convicted,” he said. “If they (people in the courtroom) were asked a simple question: Would you like an innocent man to be convicted? The answer would be unanimous.


“And it would be no.”


Blumenfield said Koss failed to meet the state’s burden of proof because there are questions that remain unanswered. The attorney addressed more than 100 of those questions in a series of alternative hypotheses as to what could’ve happened to Dawn.


Blumenfield attacked the prosecution’s description of the crime outline. He said accusations are inconsistent with how much time David would have had between seeing Dawn at the bank where she worked and the time when prosecutors allege she was killed.


During the trial, Blumenfield called several witnesses who said they saw Dawn Brossard on Oct. 26, 1997, two days after the prosecution says Dawn was killed.


“I think Mr. Koss did a fantastic job with this case,” Blumenfield said. “Unfortunately, the facts were just not there for him.”



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