Brownlee pleads guilty, sentenced to life in prison

CALEB NICKERSON
CAMPBELL’S BAY July 3, 2018
On July 3, Brian Brownlee pled guilty to second-degree murder and numerous firearms charges in relation to the death of Darwin Zimmerling a year and a half ago, and was sentenced to life in prison.
Brownlee was arrested after Zimmerling’s body was discovered on his property in the early morning of January 18, 2017. A pathologist determined the death was caused by secondary trauma from multiple gunshot wounds.
Zimmerling, a 50-year-old father of two from Shawville, had known Brownlee for many years and both had been on friendly terms prior to the murder.
Brownlee, bearded with a wiry build, was led into the courtroom wearing a collared plaid shirt and large white hearing aids. He was seated in the dock, mere feet from where the victim’s family sat in the gallery.
A smaller contingent of Brownlee’s relatives were seated across the room at the opposite end of the gallery.
Brownlee had foregone his preliminary inquiry in April and had agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder, as well as 11 firearms charges stemming from the 78 guns seized from his property.

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