John Anthony Brewer was born on May 30, 1973, to Brian and Gina Brewer, one minute before his twin brother, Anthony John Brewer.
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 60-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 company.
Both brothers appeared to have resented the arrangement and fought constantly throughout their childhood. The two were so disruptive whenever they were near each other that John was enrolled in a private boarding school from the fourth grade on.
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 holds.
Anthony, meanwhile, had dropped out of high school to drive one of his father's trucks, determined to upstage his brother by aggressively expanding the range of services the company offered. Anthony was in negotiations for trash removal contracts for multiple counties in western Tennessee when 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 Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs says that John was changed by his brother's murder. Specifically, John has been involved in a number of parking lot incidents which required the intervention of Campus Police.
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 beneficial 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 supervisor.
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 argued openly during department meetings, exchanging barbs and insults.
One week before Kristi's death, the YCSD responded to a 911 call placed by a pizza delivery driver parked in John's driveway. When officers arrived, they discovered the driver cowering in his car, John circling the vehicle brandishing a baseball bat. 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 peacefully.