Jeffery A. Brooks
Todd County Jail,
Long prison term for burglar who killed Osakis, Minn., homeowner
- Star Tribune
- June 13, 2012 - 9:20 PM
A 54-year-old convict has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for fatally beating a woman who stumbled upon him as he burglarized her home in central Minnesota.
Jeffery A. Brooks of Alexandria, Minn., was sentenced Tuesday in Todd County District Court after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the May 20, 2011, death of Diane Fortenberry at her family's home southwest of Osakis.
Brooks will be eligible for supervised release after about 23 years. He also receives credit for slightly more than a year of time already served.
Fortenberry, 51, was killed when she came home to let out a dog and interrupted Brooks, whose typical route to work at a packing plant took him past the victim's home.
"After a year of going through delays," Mike Fortenberry, Diane's husband, told Bemidji-based Lakeland Public Television, "it's been a long time coming to see justice done."
Brooks was arrested about a week after the killing, thanks to a thumbprint found on a plastic shopping bag found in a trash bin of a mobile home park in Alexandria. In the bag were shoes with Fortenberry's blood on one of them.
The bin also had a garbage bag with an Xbox system and a jewelry box from her home. Other items taken from the house included a television, jewelry, a laptop computer, collector coins and bills, camera gear and credit cards.
Brooks' state criminal record dates back about 20 years to a burglary in St. Paul. Other convictions include drug possession in St. Paul, theft in Fergus Falls and burglary in Cold Spring.
Fortenberry was born in Alexandria and grew up near Osakis. She and her husband returned to Minnesota from Mississippi about four years ago after Hurricane Katrina and a house fire.
© 2013 Star Tribune