Troy Brake is charged with seven crimes, four counts of open …
Updated: Tuesday, 24 Mar 2009, 7:58 AM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 25 Nov 2008, 12:28 PM EST
HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) -
3:54 p.m. - Outside the courtroom, Troy Brake's sister told 24 Hour News 8 that there's no way her brother could have murdered four people.
"It's a horrible tragedy," Brenda Brake said of the quadruple homicide. She added the Troy Brake she knows could not have committed such a crime.
Brenda Brake spoke to reporters after a judge adjourned the rest of her brother's preliminary hearing until December 4.
3:40 p.m. - The preliminary hearing for Troy Brake on four murder charges adjourned after five witnesses and will reconvene December 4.
3:28 p.m. - The Ottawa County Prosecutor is
accusing Troy Brake's girlfriend of changing her story multiple
times on the stand. While questioning Troy Brake's girlfriend,
Tarah Van Dyke, Prosecutor Ron Franz pointed out that her testimony
differs from what she first told detectives on at least five
Franz accused Van Dyke of changing the time Brake got home the night of the quadruple homicide. Van Dyke testified Tuesday afternoon that Brake got home at 11:30pm the night of the fire. Franz says she told police Brake arrived hom between 12:30am and 1:30am. The victims' neighbor first noticed smoke coming from the burning home at 12:35am.
Franz also said Van Dyke told detectives she had an argument with Brake that night and noticed that he smelled like smoke and had been drinking. On the stand, she said she couldn't remember saying he had been drinking that night. She also testified that Brake always smells like smoke because they burn trash.
Franz reminded Van Dyke several times that her initial interview with police is on tape.
3:22 p.m. - Tarah Van Dyke, Troy Brake's girlfriend, took the stand. She testified on that Sunday she began work at 5pm at Andrea's in Grant. She returned home around 9:30 p.m. and said Brake was home, but had plans to go to his friend Danny Butts' house.
3:09 p.m. - Robert Zimmer, Jr., whose mom and two brothers were among the victims in a quadruple homicide, testified he was not aware of Troy Brake having any violent tendencies.
Zimmer testified that Brake, who once lived next door to the
victims, had actually moved in with them for a short time to finish
out a school year. Upon questioning from the defense attorney,
Zimmer told the court that he did not know of his family having any
problems with Brake. He also said he never had any concerns about
Zimmer earlier testified that his mom had been receiving strange and harassing calls at work and home. He said he had no reason to believe that the calls came from Troy Brake.
3:07 p.m. - The third witness on the stand is Robert Zimmer Jr., the son and brother of three of the victims. He said he went to his mom's home to pick up a can of soup hours before his family members were killed. He testified that Troy Brake used to be his next door neighbor when he lived at the Zimmer home.
Under cross-examination, Robert testified Tyler and Jeremy Zimmer had drug and alcohol issues.
2:50 p.m. - Deputies found the Zimmer family dog
dead inside a closet in the home. That testimony came from an
Ottawa County Sheriff's Detective, the second person to take the
stand in Troy Brake's preliminary hearing. The detective told the
court that the dog was found in a closet in a second floor bedroom,
near the body of Jeremy Zimmer.
Detective McCarthy also testified that he first recognized the victims died by gunfire when he spotted a through-and-through bullet wound to Jeremy Zimmer's head.
McCarthy also told the court that the fire was intentionally set. He said there were two points of origin, one in a second floor bedroom and another on the living room couch.
2:41 p.m. -- An Ottawa County Sheriff's Detective
told the court that Katherine Brown's body was laying on the
landing of the stairway leading from the family room to the home's
second floor. Tyler Zimmer was found lying on his back in the
basement laundry room. The detective later discovered the body of
Sharmaine Zimmer in the main floor living room. Jeremy Zimmer was
found on the floor of an upstairs bedroom.
On the stand in Troy Brake's preliminary hearing, a detective who specializes in arson investigations, testified he found no evidence of forced entry at the victims' home.
2:36 p.m. - Trout testified the Zimmers had a lot of parties. She was followed to the stand by Detective McCarthy of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department . He's a fire expert and learned there were four victims in the burned home.
2:18 p.m. - Heather Trout, who lives next door to
the home where four people were shot and killed, is the first
witness to take the stand in the Troy Brake hearing.
Trout testified it was 12:35 a.m. when she happened to walk past her family room window. What she saw caused her to do a double take - smoke coming from her neighbor's home. She then heard a crackling noise and ran to call 9-1-1. By the time she returned to the window with phone to her ear, she could see flames inside the home.
"I was freaking out. I grabbed my kids from the upstairs. Grabbed my cell phone. Called my husband and told him I was evacuating the house in case anything exploded," testified Trout.
She later testfied she heard no sounds coming from the home. "I ripped open my living room window. I yelled 'Hey the house is on fire. Get out.' And there was no response."
Troy Brake, charged with killing four people inside a Wright Township home in late September, is in court for his preliminary examination.
This hearing is to determine if there is enough evidence to send Brake to trial on murder charges. He's accused in the deaths of Shar Zimmer, her sons Jeremy and Tyler, and Jeremy's girlfriend Katherine Brown.
The Zimmers were shot to death, Brown was beaten to death. Their home was set on fire after they were killed.
24 Hour News 8 will be in the courtroom and will have updates as
they happen online at woodtv.com
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