The morning before she died, Jenna M. Brovold woke up to about 18 calls and texts from her ex-boyfriend, Casey J. DePriest.
She also noticed her furnace had been shut off. Her sister later told police the furnace could be controlled through the Nest app, which Jenna and DePriest set up when they lived together at their Darien home.
He still had access to control the home’s settings.
After Jenna went to work that day at Rogers Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc—where she got about 12 more calls and texts from DePriest—she wanted to go home, pack a bag and stay elsewhere the night of May 13.
She did not feel safe.
At about 5:50 p.m., Jenna texted her brother, Evan Brovold, that she was home and heading inside to start packing.
But when Evan showed up and opened the door, he said, DePriest immediately shot him.
Then at about 6 p.m., a man called 911.
“Yes, someone had been shot. I need an ambulance immediately to 452 Buckingham Court in Darien,” the caller stated, according to police reports.
“Yes. Yes, Darien,” he said, confirming the address. “Please hurry up.”
The call then dropped. Police later learned the caller was DePriest, who shot and killed Jenna before taking his own life. Evan survived.
It was the third recent killing in Walworth County that was an act of domestic violence. The three incidents were only 5 miles apart in distance and seven months apart in time.
Two months after a couple in Darien broke up, the man shot and killed the woman and took his own life on Monday night, Delavan’s police chief said Thursday.
In the days after the May 13 shooting, police did not have all the answers as to what happened. A news release a few days after the incident said, “We have determined what has occurred. What will take time is why it took place.”
The information in this story comes mostly from police reports obtained through an open records request after police have mostly completed their investigation.
There might never be an adequate answer to the why question. But hindsight, reports and other documents illuminate some potential warning signs ahead of the shooting.
Jenna and DePriest had dated for about 18 months. They broke up two or three months before the shooting.
Family members told police that DePriest, who would get jealous and show up unannounced to Jenna’s home, had started using drugs again.
After the breakup, Jenna moved out of the Buckingham Court home briefly because she did not feel safe. The locks were changed, as well.
Near the beginning of May, Jenna returned to the house. DePriest at one point showed up, but the interaction was “uneventful,” and he left without incident, the reports state.
Looking into DePriest’s past shows another woman had a restraining order against him from 2013 to 2016, according to court documents.
DePriest threatened and insulted the woman. He repeatedly called and texted her. After she told him to stop contacting her, he sent 42 text messages over about eight hours.
The woman wrote in 2013 she had “safety concerns” about DePriest’s “substance abuse issues and mental health issues.”
Years later, the woman wrote that she no longer felt threatened. In 2016, a judge lifted the restraining order, court records show.
After police knew DePriest was in the house where Evan was shot, they rushed to make sure that woman was safe, and she was.
DePriest’s Wisconsin criminal history shows only a 2008 disorderly conduct conviction. He pleaded guilty to repeatedly driving in front of a Delavan house and pretending to shoot at it (he told police they were just joking), according to the criminal complaint.
Before the May 13 shooting, Delavan police knew about DePriest because of “numerous” contacts they’d had with him, the reports state. Based on those contacts, police claim DePriest “had a history of being a gang member,” was involved with recreational drugs and had psychological issues, including obsessive compulsive disorder.
Delavan Police Chief Jim Hansen said in the days after the shooting that they had no information Jenna tried to reach out to them about DePriest. The chief said recently that examining Jenna’s phone is one of the last remaining pieces of the investigation, but they think it will “confirm known information.”
The night before the shooting, DePriest and friends were hanging out at a home near Darien. One of DePriest’s friends later told police that DePriest “appeared fine and in good spirits,” the reports state.
The group was laughing, drinking and having a good time, the friend said. The two talked about five or six times a week, and the friend did not think DePriest appeared withdrawn or depressed.
Still, he said, DePriest was upset about the breakup.
“I got to get clean for Jenna, to get back together with Jenna,” the friend remembered DePriest saying, according to the reports.
“No,” the friend responded. “You need to get clean for yourself.”
This friend had known DePriest since childhood. He’s the same man who sold DePriest the .40 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun used in this shooting.
When police called DePriest’s friend a month after the shooting, the friend said he knew why they were reaching out. When he heard about the incident, he said he hoped that gun wasn’t the one used.
The two were close friends and had known each other since childhood. The friend wasn’t sure about selling it because it had been a gift to him, but DePriest offered to buy it.
DePriest, the friend told police, bought the gun from him in October or November 2018—when DePriest and Jenna were still dating and living together.
The $150 gun sale was not illegal—it was a private sale between two “non-felonious individuals,” the reports state. Even DePriest’s restraining order when it was active allowed him to own a firearm.
Evan, Jenna’s brother, knew DePriest had a .40-caliber handgun because the two had talked about it.
DePriest also had a Ruger .380 pistol found in his pants pocket. Police obtained a receipt for that Ruger from October 2017 in his name.
DePriest’s father told police, however, that he did not know his son owned a firearm—let alone two.
He said his son was private and never spoke much about his personal life, according to the reports.
Still, the shooting was a shock to the family.
The friend who sold DePriest the gun ended his conversation with police, the reports state, by saying if he had seen any “red flags” from DePriest, “he would have said something immediately.”