KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Brandon Howell isn’t a stranger to crime.
Five years ago, a jury found him not guilty for the 1998 murders of Nicholas Travis and Tabitha Brewer .
It shocked families then, but it didn’t surprise Brewer’s mother that he was charged in a new crime.
Brenda Lamson has her daughter's headstone on the side of her house, but 16-year-old Tabitha Brewer's body isn't there.
“I don't know how she died, and I don't know where she's at, and it's been 16 years now. She's been gone as long as I had known her,” Lamson explained.
What Lamson does know is that Howell was the last person with Brewer and her boyfriend, Nicholas Travis, on April 27, 1998. Police eventually found Travis' body in a shallow grave behind a home near 54th and Paseo; a home that Howell's father owned.
Someone found Brewer's purse burned in a trash can nearby.
Prosecutors finally charged and tried Howell for the murder of the couple. In 2009, a jury found Howell not guilty.
“It wasn't enough, and we had waited 11 years to go to court to get justice,” Lamson said.
Prosecutors had only circumstantial evidence. It was a devastating blow Lamson said she will never forget. On Wednesday, when the mom saw Howell’s face, it all came rushing back.
“Right then I knew it was him because I'll never forget that face,” Lamson remarked.
She wasn’t surprised, however, that Howell was in trouble again. Lamson hoped Howell would tell her what happened to her daughter, but she had little faith that would ever happen.
“I don't think he cares about anybody, he will never tell us where Tabby is, ever. He's ruthless.”