Man pleads guilty to 1988 murder of ex-teacher from GR

Grand Rapids
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WOOD) — One of two people charged with murdering a pregnant mom who taught in Grand Rapids is expected back in court Tuesday, a day after her ex-boyfriend pleaded guilty to the crime.

Barbara Brewster is charged in the 1988 murder of Miriam Rice, who was a teacher at Immaculate Heart of Mary School before she moved to South Bend, Indiana, where she was killed.

Investigators say on June 24, 1988, Rice told her husband she was taking her nightly walk with their dog, but never returned. On June 30, searchers discovered Rice’s body hidden in foliage down an embankment about three miles from her home.

Prosecutors say George Kearney admitted to helping Brewster kill Rice, who was walking near Pinhook Park when she was approached, pulled into the couple’s van and murdered.

WNDU reports Kearney appeared in court Monday, where he tearfully apologized for his role in the 1988 murder of Miriam Rice and switched his plea to guilty.

A lawyer for Kearney told WNDU his client’s health is declining and Kearney recognized he isn’t getting out of jail.

Kearney, 78, remained on oxygen when he was rolled into the courtroom Monday. A friend of Kearney’s told WNDU he has lung cancer and has rejected hospice services.

Investigators reopened the case with the help of Brewster’s children. Paula Brewster was 7 years old when she says she heard a woman screaming and saw her mother and Kearney covered in blood. Her brother, then 6, was in the van during the deadly attack.

Kearney says Brewster was the mastermind, but Brewster said Kearney led the killing. Both were arrested last summer.

Kearney is expected back in court on March 29 for sentencing. Brewster’s trial is scheduled to begin March 18.

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