Man gets 15 years in attempted coverup of West Haven slaying

Edward Brooks

Edward Brooks

Maurice D. Wearing, 28, will be sentenced to serve 15 years for his role in the attempted coverup of the July 4, 2015, slaying of a West Haven man.

Wearing is a grandson of former New Haven Police Chief Melvin Wearing. He answered “guilty” last Tuesday before state Superior Court Judge Frank Iannotti to charges of hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence.

The body of Edward A. Brooks, 39, was found tied up and wrapped in plastic in the woods at West Rock Ridge State Park in Hamden. An attempt had been made to blow up his body, and he was identified by his fingerprints.

The man guilty of the murder, Christopher Miller, 42, is being held in prison in lieu of $1.74 million bail , facing state and federal sentencing.

Brooks and Miller were involved with dealing drugs in the West Haven area, Milford State’s Attorney Kevin D. Lawlor told Iannotti. The shooting was “allegedly over narcotics,” Lawlor said.

Miller shot Brooks in the basement of the two-family house at 59 Front Ave. they shared with several people. Wearing helped Miller remove Brooks’ body from the house. Then Miller and Wearing drove the body to the park, where they tried to blow it up, Lawlor told the judge.

Earlier, Wearing saw Brooks and Miller going into the basement, then he went home. Miller then shot Brooks, and called Wearing. Wearing returned to the house and helped Miller’s family clean up the scene. Wearing then drove Miller and Brooks to the park, and a homemade bomb was placed under the body, Lawlor told the judge.

“He was the wheelman,” Lawlor said outside of court.

“The plan went awry,” Lawlor told the judge. “The bomb exploded, but just alerted law enforcement to the body.” Cameras in the West Haven house, which Miller had installed to assist him in the narcotics trade, were used by the police to detail the crime, Lawlor said.

Wearing is being held at Northern Correctional Institution. His attorney, John E. Barney Jr. of Milford, declined to comment outside of court. Wearing’s sentence is “stayed” or postponed until May 9 when he is sentenced on federal charges.

Wearing will get 21/2 years of credit for time already served since his arrest. Iannotti said Wearing must also serve five years of probation.

Miller was found guilty in September 2017 on state charges of murder, criminal use of a firearm, and tampering with physical evidence. He will be sentenced to serve 30 years in prison.

Another defendant awaiting sentencing is James Lloyd Bryant, found guilty of tampering with physical evidence, a class D felony. He has been held since July 2015 at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield in lieu of $500,000 bail. He faces up to five years in prison.

Outside court, Lawlor praised the work of West Haven police, Connecticut State Police, and “federal partners,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in cracking the case. “This is the final result of a tremendous investigation by a lot of law enforcement agencies,” Lawlor said.