KEY WEST, Fla. – The lawyer for Key West business owner Lloyd Preston Brewer III, accused of murdering former high school football player and mentor Garrett Hughes, sought hair samples from both Hughes and witnesses in the case Wednesday, seeking to prove the existence of drugs in their systems and erode the witnesses’ credibility.
Prosecutors allege that Brewer, 57, shot and killed the 21-year-old just before 12:30 a.m. on Feb. 13 after confronting a shirtless and unarmed Hughes for urinating behind Conch Town Liquor & Lounge at 3340 N. Roosevelt Blvd.
The bar is a tenant of a multi-storefront building at the Searstown shopping center owned by Brewer and his family.
Brewer tried to claim self-defense following the shooting, but prosecutors said video evidence contradicted that claim. In interrogation footage obtained by Local 10 News, Brewer told Key West police detectives: “I stood my ground.”
He couldn’t articulate what exactly made him feel threatened.
In court Wednesday, Brewer’s attorney, Chris Mancini, made his argument for why samples should be taken.
“It’s also going to be the interaction between Mr. Brewer and the other three gentlemen that provoked the incident that exactly led up to the actual shooting, their testimony whether or not they testify truthfully,” Mancini said.
Attorneys for the Hughes family said hair samples were “totally irrelevant” in the case.
“Hair samples cannot pinpoint a date or a time when a substance was ingested,” attorney Jeffrey Weiner said.
In a later hearing on a civil lawsuit, attorneys representing the victim’s family honed in on something else Brewer said in the police interrogation, they said indicated he wanted to move money.
They wanted a temporary injunction on his assets. The judge, however, said he had not seen any evidence of a transfer of funds, so, as of Wednesday, the motion to freeze assets had been denied.
Another hearing in the case is set for May 12.