True crime stories have without a doubt become one of the most popular genres for TV, film, podcasts and so on.
Since Sarah Koenig launched her Serial podcast and Netflix launched Making a Murderer back in 2015, numerous productions have followed suit. Now there is a new series on Netflix all about The Innocence Project, which famously helped Adnan Syed’s case in the first season of Serial.
The Innocence Files launches on Netflix on Wednesday, April 15th, taking a look at some of their successfully overturned cases.
Up first in episode 1 is the case of Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer, who were both wrongfully convicted of the same crime and subsequently served time behind bars. So, what happened to Levon Brooks? Where is he now?
Warning… if you have yet to see all three episodes of the firs part, then there are some spoilers about what happens ahead. Plus be wary of the sensitive nature of the case discussed.
Who is Levon Brooks?
Levon Brooks is one of the wrongfully convicted featured on The Innocence Files. He was born in 1961 and lived in Brooksville, Mississippi.
On September 15th, 1990, a terrible crime took place in Brooksville, where 3-year-old Courtney Smith was abducted in the middle of the night, sexually assaulted and murdered.
Levon became a suspect as he was the ex-boyfriend of Courtney’s mother. Ten days following Courtney’s murder, her 6-year-old sister identified Levon as the perpetrator, as she claimed to have seen him abduct Courtney. Bite mark analysis in court lead the forensic team to link Levon with the murder of Courtney.
Levon was charged with capital murder and sexual battery, and charged with life in prison on January 20th, 1992.
Levon was exonerated on March 13th, 2008 after serving sixteen years behind bars for a crime he did not commit. How The Innocence Project uncovered his innocence is explored in episodes 2 and 3.
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The Innocence Files tackles Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer
Two years following the death of Courtney Smith, another 3-year-old girl was assaulted and murdered in Brooksville, Mississippi in an almost identical case. The police did not link the crimes. Instead, they charged Kennedy Brewer, then 19, with the murder. He was the boyfriend of the second victim’s mother.
Kennedy was sentenced to death based on (faulty) bite mark analysis. He was convicted of capital murder and sexual battery on March 24th, 1995.
Five years later, Kennedy wrote to The Innocence Project and they take on his case – and subsequently, Levon Brooks’. Thanks to advanced DNA testing, the Innocence Project revealed that Kennedy Brewer was not responsible for the crime. He was exonerated on February 15th, 2008.
This lead to the discovery of the real culprit of both crimes, Justin Albert Johnson, who was one of the original suspects in Courtney Smith’s case as well. As a result of Justin’s confession, both Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer were released from prison.
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Levon Brooks deserved better. 😢😢 #TheInnocenceFiles
— Lizbeth 🦋 (@lizbramante) April 16, 2020
Where is Levon Brooks now?
Unfortunately, Levon Brooks passed away.
Levon had two great battles in life, and sadly he did not overcome the second. After struggling with colon cancer for years, Levon Brooks passed away on January 24th, 2018.
The local newspaper, The Macon Beacon, paid multiple tributes to Levon and it is clear that he was a beloved member of the community.
WATCH THE INNOCENCE FILES ON NETFLIX FROM WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15TH