Police & Courts

Quincy man charged in children's fire deaths set to enter new plea

William Brewer
By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 15, 2019 4:40 pm Updated: May. 15, 2019 4:48 pm

QUINCY -- A Quincy man charged in the Oct. 12, 2018, fire that killed two Quincy children is expected to enter a new plea next week.

Court records show that William G. Brewer waived his right to a jury trial Wednesday in Adams County Circuit Court. A plea hearing is set for Tuesday.

Brewer faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of endangering the life or health of a child in the deaths of Toby Brewer, 8, and Emma Kramer, 5, in the fire at 611 N. Eighth.

The case had been set to go to trial next month.

Also, charged with identical charges was the children's mother, Marilyn K. Kramer, 34, who is set to plead guilty to one count of endangering the life or health of a child on May 28. By entering the plea, she would be sentenced to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, with a recommendation for boot camp.

Brewer is the father of Toby Brewer.

Brewer and Kramer were indicted by an Adams County grand jury in February alleging the couple used "damaged and hand-spliced cords" to run electricity from a neighbor's home. Cords were allegedly placed under a mattress.

A Quincy Fire Department incident report obtained by The Herald-Whig said the Quincy Police Department told fire officials that the family was supposed to be out of the house in September and was squatting there. Electricity and other utilities were shut off in September.

The cords reportedly split off to several other extension cords. One ran up the stairs into a room to power a space heater, where the fire started. The report said the neighbor was unaware that the extension cord was coming from the neighbor's basement.

A sibling and Kramer escaped the fire, and a fourth child was not at home.

Brewer also was charged last week, along with four other inmates in the Adams County Jail, on charges of attempted escape, conspiracy to escape, and criminal damage to state property in connection with an escape attempt.

Charging documents allege the men dug and scraped mortar and removed bricks from a wall inside the jail.

Brewer is being held in the jail on a combined $100,000 bond.

Kramer is being held in the jail on a $25,000 bond.

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