Southern IL man guilty of killing his wife on Halloween night 20 - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

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Southern IL man guilty of killing his wife on Halloween night 2016

The jury is hearing closing arguments against Brian Pheasant (Source: Brittany Jacob, KFVS) The jury is hearing closing arguments against Brian Pheasant (Source: Brittany Jacob, KFVS)
It was the sixth day in court for Brian Pheasant, who sat before a jury for the two charges of first-degree murder of his wife Beth Pheasant. (Source: Franklin County Sheriff's Department) It was the sixth day in court for Brian Pheasant, who sat before a jury for the two charges of first-degree murder of his wife Beth Pheasant. (Source: Franklin County Sheriff's Department)
Beth Ann Pheasant (Source: Gilbert Funeral Home) Beth Ann Pheasant (Source: Gilbert Funeral Home)
(Source: Justin Fischer/KFVS) (Source: Justin Fischer/KFVS)
(Source: Justin Fischer/KFVS) (Source: Justin Fischer/KFVS)
BENTON, IL (KFVS/AP) -

After a day of hearing both side in closing arguments, a jury has found Brian Pheasant guilty of murdering his wife on Halloween night in 2016.

He was found guilty of first-degree murder on May 22. He is being held without bond.  

The prosecution argued the death of Beth Pheasant was not accidental, but intention, saying doubt Pheasant planned to kill his wife back in October of 2016.

“No family won today," Beth Pheasant's mother, Alice Wysiel, said.

The state reminds the jury of the evidence, saying Pheasant bought a gun just two days after learning his wife was involved with another man.

In addition, they argued Pheasant knowingly killed her because he aimed and then shot her twice, once in the shoulder and once in the back of her head.

Aslo they point out, Pheasant clearly did not plan to commit suicide because he’s the one still alive.

On the other side, Pheasant’s defense attorney argued that’s exactly what the upset husband planned to do, take his own life.

They argue he was never a threat to Beth, pointing to witnesses who describe Pheasant as a gentle, quiet person and even the many text messages.

They also called their client an inexperienced shooter with no training.

It was a very emotional and tough day time for two divided families. They are all now waiting for a verdict. 

Week 2 of the Murder Trial

May 16 was the sixth day in court for Brian Pheasant, who sat before a jury for the two charges of first-degree murder of his wife Beth Pheasant.

“This was an accident. I can understand involuntary manslaughter, but the state did not prove [first degree] murder," said Pheasant's defense lawyer. 

For the most part of the day, the jury read over published records from the state.

Both sides of the family showed up for court and Pheasant’s ex-wife and mother of two of his sons, Trisha Veach, talked out about her son's well-being.

She said after a year and a half, it hit them hard last week, but her boys are holding up.

“It’s a rollercoaster," Veach said. "The whole process has been a literal rollercoaster and there are just some days that you deal with it better than other days. Some days I’ve seen the boys both wake up and just not be themselves, just hurting."

Veach said she is just trying to hold the family together, and she just wants everyone to keep an open mind and let the legal system do its job.

November 2016

Brian Pheasant had an advisement meeting at the Franklin County Courthouse on November 2, attending via video.

The judge read Pheasant his charges, both counts of first-degree murder, in which Pheasant replied that he understood them. 

If convicted, both counts each carry a sentence of 25 years to life. 

Pheasant asked the court if he could be provided with a public defender in which the judge obliged.

A preliminary hearing is set for Nov. 23 at 1:30 p.m. at the Franklin County Courthouse.

Beth's family was at the hearing.

Her father said they're ok with seeing Brian spend the rest of his life behind bars.

"He could rot in jail," Larry Wyskiel said. "If they are going to give him life, it's hard to give somebody two life sentences. You've only got one life. Now how can you serve two life sentences? So if he dies in prison, then that's fine."

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The investigation

According to Illinois State Police, officers responded to the home of Brian and his wife, Beth, on Egyptian Avenue, Route 14 on Halloween night.

When officers arrived, Brian was still inside the home and was armed.

Investigators said Beth Pheasant was shot and killed. She died at the scene.

According to the Franklin County coroner, an autopsy was scheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, November 1.

Her husband, Brian, was arrested at the scene.

He faces two counts of first-degree murder and was lodged at the Franklin County jail.

A judge set his bond at $2 million.

Police originally closed down Rt. 14 between State Street and Maple Street as they looked for more information. The road was reopened as of 6:45 a.m.

We talked to neighbors about what they saw last night.

“The cop was trying to break down that door, put the guy in handcuffs, they taped off the whole area more cops showed and EMT's and all that," Christopher resident Juan Resendez said. "That door was open and you could see somebody laying on the floor.”

“They were taking the body out, and I seen the ambulance take the body out and that’s all I seen," Christopher resident Warren Young said.

”I’ve seen disputes and all that," Resendez said. "But I’ve never seen something like this where they tape off the whole area and all that and I’m assuming she was on the floor or someone was on the floor over there that’s all I seen.”

A visitation for Beth is set to take place on Saturday, Nov. 5 at Gilbert Funeral Home starting at 6 p.m.

Beth is survived by her father Larry Wyskiel and wife Jackie, of Benton and her mother Alice Wyskiel, of Sesser.

Also surviving are her children Makaylah Wyskiel, Shelby Eickelmann, Riley Eickelmann, Hannah Pheasant, Daymon Pheasant and Drew Pheasant, all of Christopher; one grandson Parker James.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, November 5 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher. Private burial will be at a later date in Little Flock Cemetery, in Carterville, Ill.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Gilbert Funeral Home to help with funeral expenses. Gilbert Funeral Home, in Christopher, is in charge of arrangements.

Copyright 2018 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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