October 10, 2008 in City

Victim may have been targeted

Warrant links elderly man’s housekeeper to murder suspect
Meghann M. Cuniff Staff writer
 

The man accused of killing an elderly Spokane Valley man during a botched burglary may not have picked the home randomly, according to a search warrant.

The document suggests the circumstances surrounding 80-year-old Kenneth Cross’ death may be more complicated than police have indicated.

Spokane Valley police spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan said Thursday he hasn’t talked to detectives working the case and couldn’t comment. But statements by Cross’ housekeeper Teresa M. Nelson included in the document, filed Wednesday in Spokane County District Court, show David K. Brewczynski might have known of Cross and his Boone Avenue home before Cross was killed Sept. 20.

Charged with stealing a ring from Cross’ 82-year-old girlfriend’s home, which she cleaned along with Cross’ home, Nelson told police she met Brewczynski, 42, on a dating phone line and spent time with him three times before the burglary and shooting death, according to the warrant.

Police learned of Nelson, 49, early in their investigation after Cross’ girlfriend told them she suspected Nelson stole a diamond ring Cross gave her in early August.

Nelson admitted to that crime after police showed her records from a Sprague Avenue pawn store showing Nelson had pawned a woman’s ring matching the description of the stolen ring, according to the search warrant.

That was Sept. 21. A week later, detectives fingered Brewczynski as a suspect in Cross’ homicide after the owner of a garage on 51st Avenue found Cross’ ID and other items in a storage container accessed by Brewczynski.

They arrested Nelson the same day as she stepped off a Greyhound bus from Seattle. When asked if she knew Brewczynski, Nelson said, “He did it. He did it,” according to the search warrant, which was used to search Brewczynski’s East Francis Avenue storage unit and the 51st Avenue garage.

Nelson, who lives a few blocks west of Cross’ home, said the man she’d met on the phone line had recently been released from prison, although she didn’t know what he’d been convicted of.

Upon further questioning, she told police she’d told Brewczynski about Cross and his home. But when police showed her a series of photos that included one of Brewczynski, Nelson “did not identify him or state whether the person she was speaking of was even in the montage,” according to the search warrant.

Nelson wasn’t home when a reporter tried to reach her for comment Thursday evening, but she has told local TV reporters she had nothing to do with Cross’ death and doesn’t know Brewczynski, a felon known by police as a career burglar.

She told police in her Sept. 21 interview that “she does lie a lot and (does) not know how to stop,” according to the search warrant.

According to the document, Cross’ stepson, Douglas Livingstone, and Nelson were the last people to see him alive. Livingstone left the home about 1:30 p.m. after a visit, and Nelson cleaned the house from about 10 a.m. to noon. Cross’ neighbors and girlfriend found his body in a bedroom closet about 7:50 p.m. after he failed to show up for a date. He’d been beaten and shot in the head.

Nelson appeared in court last week on charges of first-degree theft and trafficking in stolen property. She’s not in jail, but Brewczynski remains there on $1 million bail. He declined an interview with The Spokesman-Review.

Meghann M. Cuniff can be reached at (509) 459-5534 or at meghannc@spokesman.com.


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