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Brooks charged with Hemet man's murder

August 13, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A man accused of killing and swindling an 80-year-old Hemet man made his first appearance in court on Wednesday.Thomas Jeffrey Brooks, 39, is the man police say swindled and killed 80-year-old Edward Andrews. Brooks was scheduled for arraignment Wednesday, but the prosecutor and public defender agreed to put the proceedings on hold for two weeks.

Even though police have yet to find a body, they are charging the Brooks with murder.

Brooks is accused of befriending and then stealing the identity of Andrews, who lived in a mobile home park in Hemet.

Neighbor Nancy Graham said she saw the suspect visited Andrews often.

"Oh, he was back and forth, dinners, he was very nice ... so I thought," said Graham. "I hate him. I'd like to see him burn."

When asked what Graham thinks of the suspect after the charges were filed, she says she hates him.

Police say a surveillance camera took pictures of Brooks using Andrews's ATM card to withdraw money and that there is video of Brooks at a Target in Orange County.

Investigators say Brooks stole more than $130,000 from Andrews.

Authorities finally caught up with Brooks this past weekend at an apartment in San Diego. They arrested him and confiscated computer equipment they say he used to forge credit cards, ID cards, and Social Security cards in a number of different names, including Edward Andrews.

Andrews is still missing, but now detectives also believe he's dead, and they say Brooks might have swindled and killed others as well.

"When we interviewed him, he wasn't fully cooperative with us. But from the statements that he did make to us, we do believe that Mr. Andrews is deceased, and there are possibly other murder victims out there," said Inspector Jerry Franchville, Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

Brooks will go back to jail until his arraignment in two weeks. He is currently held without bail.

 

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