Updated: Feb 26
Shari Yates, 59 Andrew “AJ” Brooks, 32 John Edward McMillan Jr, 30
December 19, 2019, Three people were murdered on the 300 block of Mill Street in Bethalto, Madison County, Illinois. Hazelwood Police Department contacted the Bethalto Police Department to do a welfare check about 11:00 P.M, when their bodies were found. Shari and AJ both lived at the residence.
Shari Yates, AJ Brooks and John McMillan were each murdered with three gun shot wounds to their heads. Each.
Brady Witcher, 41, and Brittany McMillan, 28, have been arrested for their murders. Warrants were already issued for both fugitives in Tennessee and Alabama. Both were arrested in Hazelwood, Missouri.
Brady Witcher was charged with
Nine counts of first-degree murder (class M)One count of armed robbery (class X)One count of aggravated vehicular hijacking (class X)One count of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon (class 2)
Brittany McMillan was charged with
Nine counts of first-degree murder (class M)One count of armed robbery (class X)One count of aggravated vehicular hijacking (class X)Nine bullets were used to kill them, nine murder charges.
This murder however was the end of a week-long crime spree in two other states. They were both wanted in Clarksville, Tennessee on charges of shoplifting, aggravated kidnapping and theft of a motor vehicle. WSM-TV reported that Witcher pulled a gun from his waistband when he was confronted by the Wal-Mart employee. They fled in a stolen car.
December 18, 2019 Witcher and McMillan allegedly invaded a home on the 100 block of Westfield Court in Tennessee where they found an unlocked apartment, reportedly entered the home and tied up a young married couple leaving them in a closet. They were allegedly armed. The male victim fought them and was reportedly stabbed in his attempt. Witcher and McMillan took the couples truck and fled, where they ended up in Bethalto, Illinois.
The Tennessee couple contacted police. According to the Daily Mail, they notified law enforcement about Anne Hughes in Alabama.
They were also wanted in Jefferson County, Alabama for capital murder and kidnapping. December 13th they were accused of kidnapping and killing Kellie Ann Hughes, 31 and dumping her body in the woods behind a hospital near Birmingham, Alabama. According to Daily Mail, Kellie’s body was found after the incident in Tennessee. Kellie’s was found deceased December 14th, 2019.
HOW KELLIE WAS FOUND According to Birmingham Real-Time News, police received a 911 call from a woman who said she was being held against her will at a Center Point apartment complex but didn’t know where she was. Authorities began tracking her phone and found her at Woodside Condominiums on Shadowood Circle.
They were both found at a Days Inn motel in Hazelwood, Missouri and taken in to custody. This is what apparently prompted the Hazelwood PD to contact Bethalto PD for the wellness check. The Daily Mail reported the vehicle found there was registered to the address in Bethalto were the murders occurred.
The Bethalto Police Chief Mike Dixon lead the press conference in which he gave more detail. He reported that Brady Witcher used a semi-auto handgun and was the one that pulled the trigger each time. It was said that the killers knew the victims but were not related and that this was not a random act.
A GoFundMe account raised almost $9,000 for Shari and AJ’s funeral and memorial expenses.
Brady K Witcher is facing 9 counts of First Degree Murder charges, 1 count of Armed Robbery, 1 count of Vehicle Hijacking 1 count of possessing a firearm of a felon. There is a notice of intent to seek natural life in prison without parole. These charges are only for the three murders in Illinois, and we expect they will both face similar charges in Alabama. His Jury Trial was held at the Madison County Illinois Court House.
Brittany N McMillan is facing the same charges and may be spending her natural life in prison.
Both defendants have requested no media in their trials.
FINAL COURT VERDICTS
12/3/2021 Brittany McMillan pled guilty (last minute) to three counts of first degree murder for the three murders in Bethalto, Illinois, Shari Yates, her son Andrew 'AJ' Brooks and John McMillian. Brittany will spend the rest of her ruined life in prison on a life sentence, the max sentencing in Illinois law. We pray this sentence will bring another chapter of peace to the families and all that knew and love them.
Brady Witcher finally reached his jury trial January 2022, which whom the jury reached their verdict in less than an hour, and was found guilty on all counts. February 25, 2022 Witcher was sentenced to two life sentences. Witcher will never see the light of day outside prison walls.
We have attached the press release from Madison County State Attorney Thomas A Haine (below)
We thank the Bethalto Police Department, all assisting law enforcement agencies and the Madison County State Attorney's Office from taking these killers off the streets swiftly, and ensuring safety to your community again. Excellent work. Hopefully this will bring their families a form of peace.
SHARI YATES OBITUARY Shari Ann Yates, 59, passed away December 19, 2019 in her home in Bethalto, Illinois. She was born May 8, 1960, in Alton, Illinois, the daughter of Jerry D. Dale and Annabel Kessler-Shaw. Shari worked as a nurse's aide for a number of years in Madison County and was a Life Skills Instructor for Centerstone in Alton until early 2019. She was known for making everyone laugh, unmatched empathy, compassion, and her favorite things to do were playing dice and cards with family and friends as well as competing in a dart league. She was a beloved daughter, mother, grandmother, niece, cousin, and friend. Shari was preceded in death by her parents and son, Andrew "AJ" Jacob Brooks. Survivors include Sarah B. Chalberg and husband, Bill, of Downers Grove, Amber N. Higgins and husband, Sean, of Bunker Hill, and four grandchildren, Grace, Harry and Ivar Chalberg and Cheyann Higgins, as well as aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. A celebration of Shari's life will be held on Sunday, December 29, 2019, with visitation noon until time of service at 3 p.m. at Elias Kallal & Schaaf Funeral Home in Bethalto, Illinois. Memorials may be made to the funeral home, 727 E. Bethalto Blvd., Bethalto, IL 62010. Published in The Telegraph from Dec. 24 to Dec. 25, 2019
JOHN MCMILLIAN OBITUARY John Edward McMillian Jr, 32, of Bethalto passed away Friday, December 20, 2019. He was born September 19, 1987 in Alton, IL. John loved music; he enjoyed playing the guitar and baseball. He loved his children and family. He is survived by his mother Teresa (Gary) Ferguson; son, John Edward McMillian III; daughter, Kenzlee Peyton McMillian; brothers, Christopher and Nicholas McMillian; sister Chelsea McMillian; a special step mother, Laurie Anderson Watts and several aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, John E. McMillian Sr. and his grandparents. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. until the time of services at 11 a.m. Saturday, December 28, 2019 at Paynic Home for Funerals in Rosewood Heights. Burial will follow at Wanda Cemetery in South Roxana. Memorials can be made in care of the family. Online guestbook available at www.paynicfh.com. Obituary Provided By: Paynic Home for Funerals
ANDREW “AJ” BROOKS OBITUARY Andrew “AJ” Jacob Brooks, 30, passed away December 19, 2019 in his home in Bethalto, Illinois. He was born August 21, 1989, in Alton, IL, son of Charles “Chuck” Kermit Brooks and Shari Ann Yates.
AJ attended Lewis & Clark College, majoring in art and was a talented photographer, painter, and illustrator. He was loved by his customers and co-workers in various area restaurants where he worked. He loved to travel and learn of the culture indigenous to the areas visited. He was always happy to help anyone who needed it. AJ was best known for his zany sense of humor. He had everyone in tears of laughter. He was a beloved son, grandson, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend. AJ was preceded in death by his mother, Shari Ann Yates and maternal grandparents, Jerry D Dale and Annabel Kessler-Shaw. Survivors include paternal grandparents Delbert Lee and Margaret Ruth Brooks of Alton, IL, father, Charles K Brooks and wife Marianne of Faribault, MN and siblings, Sarah B Chalberg and husband Bill of Downers Grove, IL, Amber N Higgins and husband Sean of Bunker Hill, Bailey E Brooks, Cooper L Brooks, Desirae M Brooks, and Ezekiel J Brooks of Faribault, MN, and nieces and nephews Grace, Harry and Ivar Chalberg and Cheyann Higgins as well as many family members and friends. A celebration of AJ’s life will be held on Sunday, December 29, 2019, visitation from noon until time of service at 3 p.m. at Elias Kallal & Schaaf Funeral Home in Bethalto, IL. Memorials may be made to the funeral Home, 727 E Bethalto Blvd, Bethalto, IL 62010.
Unfortunately we believe that the death of Kelli Ann Hughes will never have a trial date. Our hearts go out to her family, pray they feel some peace knowing that her killers will remain in prison, hopefully for the rest of their lives.