Murder in the Heartland is examining the murder of Diane Fortenberry by burglar Jeffery Allen Brooks at her home in rural Osakis, Minnesota, in 2011.
On May 20, 2011, 51-year-old Fortenberry stopped by her home to let the dog outside when she interrupted criminal Brooks, who was in the process of robbing the house.
Brooks was on a lower level of the house to where Fortenberry entered and he could have escaped through a nearby exit. However, he chose to rush up the stairs and attack his victim.
The killer knocked the petite Fortenberry to the ground before he kicked her twice in the head. He then grabbed her purse and a number of other items and fled the scene.
Fortenberry was discovered when one of her sons returned home and found her unresponsive. She died from blunt force trauma.
The police had a breakthrough when they discovered several of Fortenberry’s belongings discarded in a dumpster in the nearby town of Alexandria. These included a plastic bag that contained the victim’s bloody shoes. This bag also had a fingerprint of Brooks’s right thumb.
Evidence grew against Jeffery Allen Brooks in Diane Fortenberry murder
Suspicion grew surrounding Brooks when the police interviewed him and found that he kept changing his story on his whereabouts for the day of the murder.
The police noted that Fortenberry’s house was on a route that Brooks had driven many times between his Alexandria home and the factory where he had been employed.
The evidence against Brooks quickly built up. A surveillance tape placed not far from the Fortenberry home showed an individual that matched Brooks on the day of the murder. Furthermore, an eyewitness spotted a car that matched the description of Brooks’s vehicle near the crime scene.
Brooks eventually pleaded guilty and was convicted of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to serve between 30 and 40 years in prison.
More from Murder in the Heartland
Follow the links to read about more murders committed in America’s heartland.
Casey Morgan had her throat slit by coworker Michael Roye at her home in Steeleville, Illinois, in 2007. There are unconfirmed rumors that the pair may have been having an affair.
Police Officer Danny Longstreet was on patrol in the quiet town of Higginson, Arkansas, when Timothy Askins blasted the young father to death. The killer was attempting to silence the officer over an upcoming fraud case.
Murder in the Heartland airs at 11/10c on Investigation Discovery.