Defense, prosecution motions differ on evidence seized during search warrants

Prosecuting attorneys and defense attorneys provided differing stances regarding physical evidence in a Hannibal man’s case stemming from a January 2016 crime spree.

Timothy Brokes Jr., of Hannibal, appeared in Marion County Circuit Court Monday, March 26, for a series of hearings on both his Marion and Monroe County cases. Marion County Prosecuting Attorney David Clayton, Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Talley Kendrick and Assistant Attorney General Kevin Zoellner represented Marion and Monroe Counties. Public Defenders Raymond Legg, Charles Hoskins and David Kenyon represented the defendant.

Clayton is seeking the death penalty against Brokes for allegedly shooting and running over Aaron Gauch, for allegedly killing Brittany Gauch to cover his crime against Aaron Gauch, and for allegedly shooting Deputy Travis Pugh of Monroe City to further conceal his crimes and seek to escape capture. 10th circuit Presiding Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd received a change of venue motion and took it under advisement. A previously-filed defense motion to disqualify prosecuting attorneys was withdrawn Saturday, March 3.

Brokes’ Monroe County felony charges are for assault of a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action and hindering prosecution. Those charges stem from a shootout that left Pugh injured and ended with Brokes and his passenger, June Smith, placed under arrest. Brokes and Smith fled to Monroe City after the alleged assault and murder in Hannibal.

The defense previously filed motions to suppress defendant’s statements and evidence collected in the investigation. The motion to suppress statements was previously taken up and is still under advisement by Shepherd. The Tuesday hearing stemmed from the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence was heard.

The hearing focused on the search of the Gauchs’ 1104 Summer St. residence in Hannibal, the collection of evidence inside the residence and a search of the Bel Air Motel in Monroe City — where the defendant was allegedly staying in the days following the Jan. 12, 2016, assault of Aaron Gauch and murder of Brittany Gauch.

A number of items were collected at the home and the motel after search warrants were obtained by Hannibal Police, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Hannibal Police Detectives Jennifer Grote, Jordan McAdams, Brian Allen, and then-Marion Deputy and current Monroe City Chief of Police Tyler Wheeler testified at the hearing. Police were advised that Brittany Gauch was located at the Summer St. address and it was determined that she was the victim of gunshot wounds that caused her death. Earlier that evening, her husband, Aaron Gauch, was found shot but alive in rural Marion County. He allegedly identified Brokes as the person that shot him.

During the search in Hannibal, police officers collected items including bullet fragments and cell phones. A gun and other items were allegedly recovered from the Monroe City motel. Search warrants for the collected phones were analyzed by police, but one phone was too damaged to access and the others did not yield anything of evidentiary value.

Clayton filed a motion to overrule the defense motions on the basis that the defendant lacked legal standing or right to claim any alleged 4th amendment violations, because he had no expectation of privacy in the Gauch residence. That motion was also taken under advisement by the Court. Clayton maintains that there were no violations of defendant’s rights during the search of the Summer St. residence. Kendrick maintains that no violations of defendant’s rights occurred at the search of the Monroe City motel.

Clayton also renewed his request to consolidate the separate charges of assault against Aaron Gauch and murder against Brittany Gauch on the basis that they were allegedly part of the same common plan by the defendant and should be tried together. That motion was also taken under advisement.

Shepherd scheduled a Tuesday, May 15, review hearing following the motions. The Monroe County assault charge trial against Pugh remains scheduled for Tuesday, June 12, with Kendrick as first chair and Clayton as special assistant prosecutor.

Brokes remains incarcerated in the Marion County Jail on a $1 million cash-only bond, two $500,000 cash-only bonds and a $100,000 cash-only bond.