The Richmond County Superior Court jury took about 90 minutes to find Michael Brewer, 49, guilty of two counts of use of a computer to commit child exploitation. Judge J. Wade Padgett sentenced Brewer to the maximum possible, 40 years in prison.
“This man is a predator,” Assistant District Attorney Adam Land argued to the jury in his closing statement. He agreed with Brewer’s defense attorney that Brewer was looking for some personal connection when he sent electronic messages to two underage girls, “but there was nothing innocent about it,” Land said.
Brewer was within days of being released from prison – 20 years after another Richmond County Superior Court jury convicted him of burglary and child molestation – when he sent a final message in July.
“When you get my next message I will be out of prison,” Brewer wrote to an 11-year-old girl. He instructed her to write down his new cell number and keep it a secret from any adult and from her older sister, to whom Brewer also wrote obscene electronic messages.
There’s a pattern to how child molesters act with victims, Land said. It’s called grooming and Brewer followed the script, he said.
First, he made seemingly innocent contact. Then Brewer tried to insulate the girls by writing they had to keep their mouths shut and if they didn’t, he knew hard-core criminals he could send after them. Then Brewer told them, in graphic detail, what he intended to do to them.
Lyndsey Hix of the public defender’s office sought to convince the jury that Brewer was a socially awkward person desperate for human contact, and that was compounded by his anger at being cut off by his family. The contact with the girls in 2011 and 2012 was obscene but his intent was to get a reaction, not commit a sex crime, Hix said.
The last witness to testify during the trial was an Augusta woman. In 1992, when she was 12 years old and spending the night with a friend, Brewer broke into the home, pulled the bed covers off and laid down on top of her. He threatened to kill her if she made any noise, the woman testified, but she screamed.
Several years later, she received a number of letters from Brewer. He wanted her to send pictures. He wrote she needed to keep the letters secret. He wrote she was so beautiful that all he wanted was to make her happy.
She sent the letters to the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Brewer never made parole. He completed his sentence and was due to be released from prison in August 2012.