Prosecutor: PC man’s death in May not a homicide

No charges will be filed in the May 11 death of Darrell W. Brooks, according to Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd.Brooks, 56, of rural Platte County, died as a result of a heart attack and not the physical altercation he participated in with another man on a property they shared off of Interurban Road, according to a July 3 news release. Brooks’ autopsy revealed that he had a serious underlying heart condition that had never been diagnosed, and there was no injury to his neck and no evidence of strangulation. Other wounds found on Brooks’ body were superficial and would not have been life-threatening. His blood alcohol content was .268, more than three times the legal limit for driving. The medical examiner determined that, given his underlying cardiovascular disease, Brooks could have died from a heart attack regardless of any altercation that day. The case was originally investigated as a potential homicide. “An excellent investigation by the Platte County Sheriff’s Department uncovered the truth in this incident.  While a man died on March 11, his death was not a crime,” Zahnd said. On March 11, deputies from the Platte County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to 18360 Interurban Road, and upon arrival, found Brooks on the ground restrained around the neck by his 59-year-old stepson, James Gibson Jr. The first deputy ordered Gibson to let Brooks go, and Gibson immediately complied. Brooks died at the scene. Authorities took Gibson in on investigative hold as a person of interest and later released him. Deputies went to the scene earlier in the day after receiving information that Brooks was drunk and had threatened to kill a man who lived on his property. They left after being assured that everyone was okay. Later investigation revealed that Brooks left a voicemail for his wife, threatening, “I may kill him, I may kill that (expletive) prick. Tonight may be his last night to be alive. I may kill him,” apparently referencing Gibson. While cooperating with the investigation, Gibson told authorities that he was aware of Brooks’ threat against his life and Brooks had assaulted him that night. Under Missouri law, a person can use reasonable force in protection of himself/herself while waiting on law enforcement to arrive, and Zahnd said that was what occurred in this case. Brooks had a long history of assaultive behavior, having been convicted of domestic assault in 2011.