Jury Urges Death Penalty for Man Who Set Woman Afire

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A jury decided Thursday that Donald Brooks Jr. of Van Nuys deserves the death penalty for burning his ex-girlfriend alive.

The same jury last week found Brooks, 35, guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Lisa Kerr, 32, of Van Nuys.

Kerr and Brooks had a yearlong affair, and after Kerr decided to end the relationship and reconcile with her husband, Brooks began stalking her. Kerr's charred body was found March 24, 1999, in the back seat of her car in Arleta.

"This was as serious a case as you can get," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Scott Gordon. "This woman died a horrible death."

Brooks, a plumber, was captured in Colorado Springs, Colo., four months later after police received several tips from viewers of a true-crime television program that featured him.

The jury deliberated two days before returning a verdict.

Kerr's husband, Casey, said he was elated by the outcome.

"I wanted [Brooks] to get the worst thing that he could get," said Kerr, now raising the couple's 9-year-old son. "He took away my wife. . . . He pretty much devastated my life."

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Warren Greene set sentencing for July 16.

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