Brewer was born on May 30, 1959 to Brian and
Gina Brewer, one minute before his twin brother, Anthony
Brian Brewer owned a small trucking concern in Memphis,
Tennessee, which specialized in removal jobs for construction sites.
Gina Brewer worked mornings as the
company manager while her mother watched the boys.
Because of the sixty-second difference in their ages, John and
Anthony were assigned their fate almost from birth. John, the oldest
son, would go out and make a better life for himself. Anthony, the
youngest son, would stay and eventually take over his father's
Both brothers appeared to have resented the arrangement and
fought constantly throughout their childhood. The two were so
disruptive whenever they were in close proximity that, by the time
they reached the fourth grade, John had to be enrolled in a private
Without his brother to fight, John allegedly turned his anger
towards the other students. He was accused numerous times of
sabotaging various school projects, but there was never enough
evidence to justify a suspension.
By high school, John had learned how to better channel his
emotions. He graduated at the top of his class and then set his
sights on Harvard University, where he earned an advanced degree in
half the usual time. John was quickly hired to head the business
school at the University of Mississippi, the position he still
Anthony, meanwhile, had dropped out of high school to drive one
of his father's trucks. According to Gina,
Anthony was determined to upstage his brother by aggressively
expanding the range of services offered by the trucking company. If
Anthony couldn't have smart, he'd settle for rich.
The biggest deal Anthony ever worked on was when he pursued the trash removal contracts for
multiple counties in western Tennessee. Before he was able to close
the sale, his body was discovered one night in the trunk of his car.
The murder is still unsolved.
John took a leave of absence and spent six months in Memphis. The
detectives assigned to the investigation finally suggested he return
to Oxford. "It was touch and go whether we were going to arrest him
for interfering with an officer in the course of his duty. The man
simply did not know how to back off."
The Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs says that
John was changed by his brother's murder. "Of course one expects
that the death of a twin would prove traumatic, and we have been
more than understanding, but John's behavior was significantly
Specifically, John has been involved in a number of parking lot
incidents which required the intervention of Campus Police. He has
also reportedly pressured female faculty members under his control
into compromising positions and has reduced more than one female
grad student to tears.
The situation seems to have only worsened during the recent
Barbara Dubois murder investigation. John was obsessed with the case
and talked of almost nothing else. Repeated calls to the
Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department, asking for updates put
him on a suspect list, but John was removed after a cursory
investigation uncovered an ironclad alibi during the time of the
murder. Once the case was solved and the perpetrator brought to
justice, John became morose.
When a janitor placed an emptied trashcan on the wrong side of
John's desk, John hurled the offending object through his office
window. The student struck by the falling glass was convinced that
pressing charges would not be good for his academic career.
Staff members learned to stay out of John's way. The exception,
as usual, was Kristi Waterson who continued to cross swords with her
Kristi had been hired over John's objections, which he stated in
writing but finally withdrew. John often assigned Kristi the least
desirable class schedules and the two fought openly during
department meetings. During one such exchange, Kristi referred to
John as "Grandpa." He replied that he only wished he was her
grandfather so that he could "bend her over his knee and take a
paddle to her."
One week before Kristi's death, the Yoknapatawpha County
Sheriff's Department responded to a 911 call placed by a pizza
delivery boy parked in John's driveway. When the officers arrived,
they discovered the delivery boy cowering in his car, John circling
the vehicle with a baseball bat he was using to threaten the
delivery boy and his car.
Apparently, John had requested "no mushrooms” on the special deluxe
and was upset when the pizza arrived with mushrooms. John
surrendered the bat to the officers and the situation was resolved