Police & Courts

Quincy man sentenced to prison in children's fire deaths

William Brewer, right, listens along with Public Defender Chris Pratt during a plea hearing Tuesday in the Adams County Courthouse. Brewer pleaded guilty to one count of endangering the life or health of a child in connection with the deaths of two children in a Oct. 12, 2018, fire at 611 N. Eighth. | H-W Photo/Matt Hopf
By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 21, 2019 4:30 pm

QUINCY -- William G. Brewer was sentenced to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections in connection with the deaths of two children in an October 2018 house fire on Quincy's north side.

Choking up Tuesday in Adams County Circuit Court, the Quincy man pleaded guilty to one count of endangering the life or health of a child. He was immediately sentenced by Judge Robert Adrian as part of the negotiated plea.

Brewer, 35, initially faced two counts of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of endangering the life or health of a child in the deaths of Toby Brewer, 8, and Emma Kramer, 5, in the Oct. 12 fire at 611 N. Eighth.

Brewer is the father of Toby Brewer.

Josh Jones, lead trial attorney for the Adams County state's attorney's office, said if the case had gone to trial, evidence would have been presented showing that hand-spliced electrical cords were used to provide power in the home, and that an electrical engineer found that a hand-spliced electrical cord underneath a mattress caused the fire.

"These cords were observed to smoke or pop at multiple occasions," Jones said.

Quincy Fire Department records obtained by The Herald-Whig said that the family was supposed to be out of the house in September and was squatting there. Electricity and other utilities were shut off in September.

When asked by Adrian if he wished to address the court before issuing the sentence, Brewer quietly replied, "I can't, sir."

The children's mother Marilyn K. Kramer, 34, faces identical charges, but she is set to plead guilty to one count of endangering the life or health of a child on May 28. By entering the plea, she would be sentenced to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, with a recommendation for boot camp.

Brewer also was sentenced to one count of possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine in connection with an Oct. 18, 2018, arrest when he was found with 6.2 grams of methamphetamine.

Jones said Brewer told police that he sold methamphetamine in the past.

The two sentences will run concurrently, and Brewer received 107 days for time in custody.

Adrian agreed that the methamphetamine offense was due to Brewer's addiction, which makes him eligible for drug treatment programs in prison.

Brewer has been held in the Adams County Jail on $25,000 bond since his arrest.

He also faces charges of attempted escape, conspiracy to escape and criminal damage to state property along with four other inmates held in the jail, in connection with a reported attempted escape between May 2 and 8.

Bond in that case is $75,000.

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