• Crime In The Mitten

Episode #14 - Shelly Andre Brooks

Shelly Andre Brooks

Shelly Andre Brooks was born January 22,1969 in Detroit. He was born into an unhealthy environment to a drug addict, prostitute mother. When Shelly was 14, she left him with her mother to go stay with her boyfriend. A few years later, during his 11th grade year, Shelly dropped out of school. Soon after dropping out, he served 60 days in prison for having a gun and lived on the streets after his release. At the time of 11th grade, you’re about 16 or 17 years old, so all of this is going on and he’s still a minor. He had several jobs that he never really stuck to, because he wasn’t able to get along with the coworkers. He didn’t mind living how he was living and made friends and his victims this way.

Shelly began his killing spree in the summer of 2001. The body of 53 year old Sandra Davis was found on August 31, 2001 at 9700 St. Paul. Brooks confessed that Davis agreed to trade sex for money in an abandoned apartment building on St. Paul. It wasn't stated why, but he got mad at her and wanted his money back. When she tried to leave, he struck her in the head repeatedly until she collapsed, then dragged her into a closet, where she was found decomposed on August 31st.

Almost five months later, on January 22, 2002 the body of 33 year old Pamela Greer was found in the same building. A man who was there to clean asbestos from the building discovered Pamela Greer. Her body wasn’t found until a stray dog was seen eating her right leg. She too had been beaten to death.

On April 14, 2002, 36 year old Marion Woods-Daniels was found at 4804 Crane. She was killed with a brick to her head in an alley on Crane Street. Brooks told the told the police that she tried to run off with money for a sex act, so he killed her by beating her head in with a brick.

Brooks’ next victim was found only eight days later on April 22. Rhonda Myles was found at 1382 Manistique, an abandoned building. Myles had too been beaten to death, but this time Brooks used the leg of a wooden chair and his DNA was found on the weapon. Rhonda Myles was 45 at the time of her murder.

The following month, in May of 2002, the police ticketed Brooks for entering a building without permission. The only site with any information and Shelly did not say what kind of building it was that he was caught going into. At this time he wasn’t even a suspect for the murders,

Five month after Rhonda Myles was found, Brooks’ next victim, 30 year old Thelma Johnson, on November 5 on Mack and Holcomb. A person walking near Mack and Holcomb found the body. Brooks allegedly told police he hit her in the head “a couple of times.”

In 2003, Brooks was taken in by the police, but never actually arrested three different times for being drunk incidents.. His fingerprints were never in the system because he wasn’t actually arrested. Around this same time, the murders of these black women were being taken seriously. The murder weapons weapons and DNA were being collected as evidence. At this point Brooks decided to calm down on his murders. During this time of his “break”, he said that he had a job and a girlfriend that he lived with.

Three whole years later on October 18, 2005, 38 year old Melissa Toston was found in a vacant garage at Chalmers and Flanders. Her body was found about four days after she died. Brooks later said he hit her with a cement block that he cut his hand with, then searched her purse for money.

On June 5, 2006, 8 months later, the body of a still unidentified victim at 2646 Harding, about a thousand feet from the house where Brooks’ grandmother raised him. Brooks allegedly said he wanted his money back from the woman and choked and beat her to death. He claimed he doesn’t remember who the woman was. A neighbor reported hearing screams in the night about three weeks earlier.

Later that month, on June 26, 2006 a woman survived the rape and beating near Hickory and Linnhurst. Brooks allegedly raped and beat another woman in the head and left her to die. She survived and, after she recovered from her coma, described her attacker as a tall homeless man known as “E”. Police went to the streets to find out who went by the name “E”, and arrested Shelly Andre Brooks. During his arrest and fingerprinting, Brooks’ was tied to four murders in the area. After being confronted with DNA evidence that tied him to the murders of the women, Brooks admitted the crimes.

Brooks' brother-in-law denied the allegations, saying Brooks "wasn't like that." He said Brooks' mother was hospitalized after hearing the news because of the stress on herself and the family. She could not be reached for comments of her own. Detective Mike Carlisle said that Brooks never cried, nor did he ever show remorse.

Mohan Nair, a psychiatrist who has studied serial killers, studied Brooks’ case as well. He said “generally they(other serial killers) are able to function on a level more normal than Brooks. It is strange that he would have been homeless for what appears to be such a long period of time, but I am sure it is not unheard of.

The crimes themselves seem to indicate a more disorganized type than many of the more famous serial killers. He seemed to bring his victims to a secluded area, kill them, and then leave them there, not making a great effort at hiding the bodies. Most were found by passersby, or folks who located them without having to search a great deal.

One of the hallmarks of the disorganized killer is that he does not create separate scenes for the initial contact, attack, and body disposal. In Brooks’ case, it would appear this held true, since he undoubtedly led them to the vacant buildings, killed them and left them there. He also did not appear to take any of the stereotypical ‘trophies’ that are associated with more organized serial killers, who take jewelry, body parts, and other mementos with them, so they can relive the thrill of the kill again and again.

Brooks seemed to merely become enraged, attacked, and then left them there. As we see from the information released from his confession, he would get angry at these women for various reasons, because they refused his advances or he felt they were trying to cheat him, and he would attack.

This would also help explain why others do not believe him capable of doing such horrific acts. If there is no triggering event, Shelly Brooks is probably a mild-mannered and quiet man. But when provoked, he quickly becomes belligerent. This also would not have been something he would have done with what he viewed as a stronger person, either another male or a confident female.

I am not sure if the conclusion, that he was attacking these women because they reminded him of the mother who abandoned him as a valid reason for explaining his murders. To me, it seems more likely that these were women he viewed as weak enough and lowly enough that he could approach, without fear of rejection. They were prostitutes, and also described as the type “who begged for cigarettes.” This means they probably would not turn down any opportunity for a few dollars.

Police also said that Brooks was proud of the fact that he had survived on the streets for as long as he did. It probably was a point of pride, however misplaced, that he was able to handle being homeless for almost a decade, something many of us could never handle for more than a few days or weeks at the most.

This is a man whose self-esteem and abilities to interact with the world around him were severely limited. He could not work with anyone and probably felt that everyone looked down on him for being homeless, no matter how successful he believed himself. And when one of these women, whom he considered even lower than himself, would try to either condemn him or take advantage of him, he would lash out with vicious anger.”

The prosecution moved to admit evidence regarding Brooks’ attack of six women and another who was strangled to death. The trial court granted the prosecution’s motion with respect to the six women, but excluded admission of evidence regarding the woman who had been strangled. Defendant moved to suppress his statements to the police. They wanted to get all the allegations thrown out. They said that the statements that Brooks’ gave were not voluntary. Brooks said his confessions were forced out of him by two officers threatening with violence to get him to confess. He said that he was interrogated everyday for a full month for 12 hours at a time. Although the investigators wrote out the statements, Brooks signed off on each of them and even made corrections when needed. Brooks never actually denied the confessions, just that he didn’t willingly volunteer the information given. The judge threw out his allegations and continued on with the case.

Brooks was only charged for the murders of Pamela Greer, Rhonda Myles, and the woman who survived. He was tried first for 33 year old Pamela Greer’s murder. She was the second body found, who was left in the abandoned apartment building on St. Paul. He pleaded not guilty, as if he hadn’t already confessed and his seaman was found in her body. She accepted his money after the sex, but asked for more money. Her asking for extra money upset Brooks, which led Greer to get scared and run. He ran after her and beat her in the head with a brick, which killed her. He claimed that she was still breathing and took her to the bedroom of the apartment, where he covered her with the carpet, took the money back, and left. The jury found him guilty of the murder of Pamela Greer. First degree murder here is an automatic life without parroll sentencing. Only a week later Brooks went on trail for the murder of 45 year old Rhonda Myles, who was found in the abandoned building at 1382 Manistique. He was found guilty of first degree murder again. He was sentenced 50 years for the women who survived his attack. Shelly Andre Brooks is an inmate at G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson County.


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