A motion was recently filed on behalf of Shane Brewer — the man accused of shooting and killing Loren VerValen in his southern Thurston County home late last year — requesting the suppression of evidence gleaned from search warrants deputies received to search Brewer’s cellphone records.
Brewer, 32, is facing a total of 16 felony charges in the homicide, in which he is accused of killing VerValen and taking his vehicle. The charges include first-degree murder or in the alternative second-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree possession of stolen property, second-degree malicious mischief and three counts of theft of a firearm.
According to a motion to suppress filed by Brewer’s attorney Jared Ausserer on Aug. 6, deputies didn’t provide adequate probable cause linking Brewer’s cellphone records to the crimes he’s accused of committing when they applied for search warrants.
“The affidavit does not provide any information indicating the phones identified were used in the commission of the murder, had any information relevant to the murder, had any communication about the murder, or were otherwise related to the murder. The affidavit simply indicates the phones were associated with Mr. Brewer,” reads the motion.
The warrants were applied for and granted on Dec. 27, 2018, when law enforcement were searching for Brewer as the investigation into VerValen’s death was ongoing. Court documents indicate Brewer was located and arrested by deputies using live location information from one of his cellphones.
They further requested any call detail records and text messages.
Ausserer, meanwhile, argues that probable cause must exist in search warrant applications linking the property searched to the crimes alleged. Investigators failed to do so, he wrote.
“There is no mention in the affidavit of any statement or information relative to the murder coming to or from Mr. Brewer’s phone,” the document reads.
In a separate document filed Aug. 8, Ausserer requests that certain counts leveled against Brewer be severed from the others into a separate case. He argues that not all the charges are relevant to one another — specifically some charges referring to VerValen’s death while others are linked to a burglary where firearms were stolen from a Big 5 Sporting Goods store.
“Evidence of Mr. Brewer’s involvement in the burglary and theft of firearms from Big 5 Sporting Goods could only be used to infer a general criminal disposition, as there is no evidence the murder was related to this burglary,” reads a court document.
A hearing is set on Sept. 9 for both of these matters.
Brewer became a person of interest in the shooting after deputies executed a search warrant on his residence, where they reported finding a vehicle stolen from VerValen’s residence. VerValen, 45, had been killed by three bullets from a .223 caliber rifle. That same caliber of gun was found during the ensuing investigation to link Brewer to the shooting. Two additional guns were recovered — all of them being stolen during a burglary at Olympia’s Big 5 on Dec. 21.
Brewer told deputies that he was “set up” when they took him into custody Dec. 28, according to court documents. That came after Brewer was tracked down by Thurston County K-9 Dexter, as he hid in a blueberry patch in a wooded area.
He has a jury trial currently set to start Sept. 16.