Emotional day in court as children detail death of their mother - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Emotional day in court as children detail death of their mother in Pheasant trial

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BENTON, Ill. -- The children of a woman prosecutors believe was murdered by her husband testified Thursday, along with the man accused of being involved in an affair at the center of the crime.

The children were at the same house in Christopher as Beth Pheasant when their dad, Brian Pheasant, shot her twice on Halloween 2016.

They described a night that started out happy with them trick-or-treating, then turned tragic once their father arrived.

A 17-year-old daughter said her mother, Beth, was getting ready for work when her father, Brian, barged into their home in Christopher.

She said her father was angrily scrolling through Beth's phone, asking her who she last called.

"I didn't think anything was going to happen," the daughter said on the stand.  

That's when the teenage girl and her 13-year-old brother heard a loud pop, followed by their mother screaming, "Call 911, Brian shot me!"

The daughter held back tears as she described her mother crawling on the floor, holding her midsection, struggling to breathe.

The daughter then ran back to her room to call 911. That's when she and her brother heard a second loud pop.

Brian Pheasant's attorney contends he meant to kill himself, and he wanted Beth to watch because she had been cheating on him. But he claims his client had had trouble with the gun and ended up shooting Beth.

The man with whom Beth was having an affair, took the stand to open up the afternoon session of testimony.

The man said Brian Pheasant showed up at his house a couple times in the two weeks before Beth's death, the second time happening the day before the shooting.  

Beth was there each time and the man said Brian yelled at them from outside, but there was never a face-to-face confrontation.

Both men avoided looking at each other during the half-hour of testimony, after which two of Beth Pheasant's co-workers testified, describing Beth's demeanor the week leading up to the shooting.

One of the witnesses said Beth was "tearful, upset, not herself," while the other expressed similar concerns, "She just kind of seemed down that day. Not her usual, chipper self."

Brian Pheasant faces first-degree murder charges. Testimony is expected to continue Friday in Franklin County Court.

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