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Mother of accused Brookings man speaks

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BROOKINGS - The mother of a 19-year-old who's charged with murder for the death of his father in Brookings says her son is a good person who had his life shattered by his father.

Tammy Brody said her son, Brandon Brody, had not seen his father in 17 years - until Brian Brody moved to Brookings from California several months ago.

Tammy Brody characterized her late ex-husband as "evil" and a violent man.

"He was very abusive to me," she said of Brian Brody. "I had a restraining order against him," Tammy said.

She said Brandon graduated from Deubrook High School, joined the National Guard and was attending South Dakota State University when his father showed up.

"Brandon knew he had a dad but hadn't seen him in 17 years," Tammy Brody said. "When Brandon turned 18, suddenly Brian shows up back in his life. I can't tell you what all went on in Brookings, because I wasn't there, but I know Brian isn't the victim."

An autopsy was performed Monday on a burned body that was found near Oak Lake to determine if the corpse is that of Brian Brody, 47, of Brookings.

It's believed the cause of death was a gunshot.

Brandon Brody and Jon Rogness, also 19, of rural Astoria, face murder charges. They have made their initial court appearance and remain jailed on $1 million bond each.

A preliminary hearing that had been set for the two has been postponed, Brookings County State's Attorney Clyde Calhoon said Thursday.

The hearing has been rescheduled for Aug. 24, he said. The case could go to a grand jury, and if that happens, a preliminary hearing would not be held.

If the two are convicted of first-degree murder, they face the possibility of the death penalty or life in prison.

Calhoon said it's too early in the investigation for any decision on the death penalty.

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