Dad: Killer shouldn't profit from slain kids' estate

Innocent Demesyeux, left, said that Leatrice Brewer, right, Innocent Demesyeux, left, said that Leatrice Brewer, right, who admitted to killing his kids, should never get a cent of the children's $350,000 estate. Photo Credit: Patrick McCarthy; Howard Schnapp

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The father of two of the three young children whose New Cassel mother admitted to drowning in her bathtub said Thursday that he's determined to make sure she never gets a cent of the children's $350,000 estate.

Innocent Demesyeux, father of two of the boys whom Leatrice Brewer, 32, admitted to drowning in 2008, spoke outside the Nassau Surrogate's Court, where a scheduling conference was held in the estate case.

Brewer pleaded not guilty in the criminal case by reason of mental disease or defect in 2009 and has remained in a secure psychiatric facility upstate since then. But she seeks a portion of the wrongful-death settlements paid by Nassau County to the children's estates. A hearing in the estate case was scheduled for Oct. 3, one of the lawyers in the case said.

"I would never agree for Leatrice Brewer to have a share," said Demesyeux, 34, an ambulette driver from Queens, whose sons Michael, 5, and Innocent Jr., 18 months, were killed. "It's just like killing the kids all over again. I'm the one that's standing up for them. I can't let them down a second time."

Brewer's attorney, Peter Kelly, of Uniondale, declined to comment while leaving the courthouse. He did not respond to questions in an email.

Brewer drowned her three children one by one, then laid them in a row on her bed and attempted suicide by ingesting a combination of bleach, Windex, OxiClean and a bottle of aspirin, prosecutors have said. She woke up the next morning and tried to kill herself again by jumping out of the second-story window of her apartment, prosecutors said. She then called 911 and confessed to killing the children.

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Demesyeux settled a lawsuit against the county last year for $250,000, claiming that social service caseworkers could have done more to save the children. A lawsuit filed on behalf of the estate of the third child, Jewell Ward, 6, recently settled for $100,000.

Even if Brewer is successful in her quest, she cannot keep the money because the state holds a $1.2 million lien on her assets to cover the cost of her treatment and board at the psychiatric facility.

Thomas Foley, a Garden City lawyer representing Demesyeux, said he "fully expects" to be successful in his effort to block Brewer from receiving any money.

"She killed her kids and I don't think you have to be a lawyer to realize she should not get a portion or share of the wrongful-death settlement," Foley said.

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