On December 23rd, 2016, in a quiet neighborhood of Omaha, Nebraska, two gunmen wearing clown masks forced their way into the home of Michael Brinkman. Brinkman was at home with his long-term girlfriend Kim Milius and his son Seth.
Seth emerged from the shower to find two gunmen in the hallway; one was holding a firearm to Kim, and the other was brandishing their weapon at his father. Seth quickly removed the shower rod and flung it at the assailant closest to his father.
A struggle ensued, and three shots were fired, one of the bullets struck Michael in the chest. Paramedics later rushed Brinkman to a hospital where he died from his wounds.
The two gunmen had parked their white SUV outside Brinkman’s home on the dead-end street in what looked like a targeted home invasion.
A bizarre clue was left behind, which pointed police in the direction of LeAndre Jennings. A quantity of food, including some Texas toast, was found in the bathroom, allegedly left behind by the assailants. A bitemark left in the toast matched unmistakenly with Jennings’s DNA.
The case has been controversial; at the trial, Jenning’s attorney attacked the theory of a robbery gone wrong, citing an untouched envelope of money and an ignored safe containing $200,000 as evidence that this was a targeted assassination as opposed to theft. “Who brings food to a robbery,” said the attorney.
Girlfriend, Milius, had initially mentioned to police that Brinkman had fallen out with a longtime friend who had become threatening. It is also thought that Brinkman had become angered by the direction taken by his old roofing company, which might have caused ill blood with former associates.
LeAndre Jennings was found guilty of first-degree murder and two other gun charges; he sentenced to life in prison. Jennings had a lengthy criminal record that started when he was just 14-years-old, it involved gang activity and gun crime.
The second gunman has yet to be identified.
On The Case With Paula Zahn can be seen at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.