Bryan "Big Country" Brackbill couldn't have killed a woman he knew for 17 years and who actually took him into her home, his attorney argued.
In the first day of the 34-year-old's homicide trial on Monday, two very different portraits of the Brackbill emerged: One of a man whose only crime was being around Sandra Mulder, 52; the other of a drunken man who bound his landlady with pink duct tape as he stole her car, leaving her face down to die of asphyxiation.
Brackbill stands accused of killing Mulder on June 1, 2013. Mulder's daughter and son-in-law found the woman's body in her Carroll Township home the following day, according to the police affidavit. Brackbill was arrested by Missouri police on June 3, driving Mulder's car.
Brackbill is charged with second- and third-degree murder. He is also charged with theft by unlawful taking.
Alcohol-induced: On Monday, chief deputy prosecutor David Sunday told the jury that Brackbill killed his landlady "in a fit of drunken rage," calling to the stand Brackbill's former boss and a bouncer from a bar he went to the night before Mulder's death.
Earlier that week, Brackbill had cut off his alcohol monitoring bracelet, which he was wearing because he had a pending DUI case, according to testimony.
His then-boss, William Snyder Jr., testified they drank beer together earlier that Friday, but Brackbill did not stop there, taking shots of hard alcohol at a bar.
The bouncer, Ken Barkman, said Brackbill was making the bartenders uncomfortable. When Snyder suggested Brackbill shouldn't be served more alcohol, they abided by that suggestion, Barkman testified.
Evidence: Hours later, police said Mulder was killed in a downstairs bedroom of her house. Nearby, a lamp was broken and there was a hole in the drywall, police have said.
On her shirt was some of Brackbill's saliva, confirmed by DNA testing, according to the prosecution. Combined with the testimony of numerous people Brackbill interacted with that night and the fact that he was later arrested driving the Mulder's car, Sunday said the case is obvious.
Defense attorney Rick Robinson said Brackbill's saliva was likely on her shirt because they had eaten dinner together, and other evidence could be attributed to the fact he lived with Mulder.
He said Brackbill would not have stolen a car Mulder routinely let him use and the defendant only fled the state because he knew he was facing a homicide charge.
"(Brackbill) had no reason to kill (Mulder)." Robinson said. "You're not going to bite off the hand, or hands, that feed you."
— Reach Michael Tabb at firstname.lastname@example.org.