Jefferson County man sentenced to prison for shooting half-brother
by Dennis Sharkey
A Sarcoxie township man was sentenced to prison last week for shooting his half-brother.
Bryan E. Poeverlein, 24, was sentenced to 32 months in prison last Thursday by District Judge Gary Nafzinger.
Poeverlein pled guilty to aggravated battery and assault. His attorney, Sarah Swain of Lawrence, negotiated the plea down from second degree attempted murder.
Most of Poeverlein’s family was in the courtroom for the hearing except for the victim Trevor Spurlock, who is Poeverlein’s half-brother.
Swain tried to convince the court that Poeverlein is not a violent person and that the incident was isolated. During her closing statements Swain said that Poeverlein accepted responsibility for his actions and that putting him in jail would only hurt his family even worse.
“He has done nothing but express deep remorse,” she said. “Probably the most remorse I’ve ever seen in a client.”
She argued that her client has no real criminal record and no pattern of criminal activity.
However, Fox argued that the victim himself is arguing for jail time. Spurlock has not been heard from but Fox addressed a survey that Spurlock filled out. One of the questions concerned what he thought should happen to Poeverlein. Jail was one of the choices Spurlock selected.
Fox said the defense did not show compelling evidence that Poeverlien should be spared jail time. He also said the court is bound by a special rule because the crime involved a firearm.
Fox told the court that he isn’t surprised that so many family members came to Poeverlein’s defense. However, the court has to look out for the good of the community he argued.
“This room is full of victims,” Fox said. “When he shot his half-brother he victimized not only (Spurlock) he also victimized family members. It’s a shame all of these good folks were victimized.”
Swain put several of Poeverlein’s family members on the stand during the hearing to plead the case but Fox was able to turn the tables most of the time and use testimony to prove his point.
The most damaging testimony came when the two men’s mother Charlene Sharon, took the stand. During a line of questioning Fox was able to get Sharon to admit that Spurlock still holds deep anger toward Poeverlein.
Fox was also able to illustrate that Poeverlein had anger issues before the incident.
The prosecution also presented two photos as evidence that were taken from Poeverlein’s Facebook page.
One photo showed Poeverlein holding two pistols pointed at the camera and another photo showing Poeverlein with a beer bottle flipping off the camera.
The defense tried to use testimony by Psychologist Stanley Mintz, who testified in a Jefferson County murder case last year.
Mintz testified that he did not believe Poeverlein is a violent person. However, Fox was able to get Mintz to admit that he nor anyone else could guarantee that Poeverlein would commit a violent crime again.
Mintz testified that Poeverlein had a problem with cocaine use but said he did not believe he had an alcohol problem.
Fox was also able to use family members’ testimony to show that Poeverlein knew what he was doing with the gun and that it was not an accident.
While on the stand Sharon testified that the problems between her two sons went further than an argument over who was to do the dishes.
In February officers were called to Sharon’s house in the late evening hours to a shooting. According to testimony given, Poeverlein and Spurlock argued over the phone about the dishes. Spurlock then returned home and an argument ensued that resulted in the shooting.
Sharon said there were other issues that led up to the argument including stress over the two men having to leave the house.
Spurlock is still recovering from his injuries but is walking without the use of a walker according to the testimony. However, he still suffers from the injuries and has paralysis in his right leg.
Poeverlein will be transported to El Dorado for processing. He will get credit for six months served in the Jefferson County Jail.
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