Man charged in death of 3-year-old Evan Brewer bound over for trial

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Tuesday, April 17

The man charged in the death of his ex-girlfriend's three-year-old son has been bound for a jury trial.

Evan Brewer's mother, Miranda Miller, waived her preliminary hearing on Monday and testified about the abuse she says Evan suffered at the hand of Stephen Bodine. She said Bodine even forced her to abuse the boy.

VIDEO: Evan Brewer's mother says she wanted to get her son help

Miller said in Evan's final days he was unable to eat or drink. She said she wanted to take him to the doctor, but Bodine wouldn't let her.

Miller said Evan eventually collapsed and Bodine slapped the boy who then hit a wall. She said Bodine took Evan into a bathroom where the boy stopped breathing.

Miller said she tried to perform CPR on Evan but she couldn't revive him. She is charged with second-degree murder in the death of the 3-year-old.

By agreeing to testify against Bodine, prosecutors dropped the first-degree murder charge against Miller.

She will be allowed to plead guilty to second-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, child abuse and aggravated child endangerment. She will likely face no more than 28 years in prison.

Bodine is charged with first-degree murder in Evan's death. The prosecution requested additional charges which include aggravated endangering of a child, aggravated abuse and aggravated kidnapping. The judge approved.

Bodine is set to go to trial May 21 at 9 a.m.
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Monday, April 16

The mother of Evan Brewer took the stand against her boyfriend Monday afternoon in Sedgwick County District Court.

Earlier in the day, Miranda Miller waived her preliminary hearing and entered a 'not guilty' plea in her son's death. On the stand Monday afternoon, Miller says her boyfriend, Stephen Bodine killed Brewer, but admitted that she played a role.

Miranda Miller's plea came during an appearance Monday in Sedgwick County District Court. Miller and her boyfriend, Stephen Bodine, were charged in early December with first-degree murder in connection with Evan Brewer's death.

The boy's remains were discovered in early September in a concrete structure in a south Wichita home.

In entering her not guilty plea and agreeing to testify against Bodine, Miller waived her preliminary hearing.

"I didn't want my son dead," said Miller. "I wanted to raise him. I wanted to see him grow up. I wanted to be at his graduation. I wanted to see him get married. Stephen took that away from me and told me I was a bad mother because I didn't know how to discipline my child and that I was weak, and that he needed to have a man take over and control him because he was turning into a monster the way I was raising my son."

The trial date is set for May 21. She took the stand against Bodine Monday afternoon. Miller's decision to testify against Bodine was made three days ago.

Monday, she told a judge everything that led up to her son's death last May. Miller says Bodine was the one who abused Evan and even forced her to abuse him. She recounted her entire relationship with Bodine, from the moment they met to the time he moved in and began mistreating her son.

She says Bodine's abuse of Evan began gradually. The reasons for the abuse were for incidents as minor as the 3-year-old boy refusing to greet him when he woke up and for not listening to him.

Miller says Evan died around May 19 or May 20, 2017. In the three-year-old boy's final days, Miller says Evan had trouble keeping food and liquids down. She says she wanted to take Evan to the doctor, but Bodine refused.

After three days of Evan not eating anything, she says Bodine told her to force feed him. Miller says Evan eventually collapsed and Bodine slapped the boy who then hit a wall. She says Bodine took Evan to a bathroom where the boy stopped breathing.

Miller's testimony came during the preliminary hearing for Bodine. In the preliminary hearing phase of a case, a judge decides where there's enough evidence for a case to go to trial.

Carl Brewer, former Wichita mayor and grandfather of Evan Brewer issued a statement in response to Monday's hearing.

A preliminary hearing began today for the two individuals accused of the murder of my grandson, Evan Brewer. This is heartbreaking for me and my family. The safeguards that are supposed to be in place failed him. And they have failed, and are continuing to fail, countless other innocent children.

Simply put, the system is broken. And our children, the ones we should be protecting the most, are suffering.

Child abuse cases like Evan’s brings to light the catastrophic problem that is affecting our entire state. Thousands of Kansas children suffer physical and emotional trauma but their cries are unheard. We need to increase funding to public safety agencies, like DCF, so more case workers can better investigate. We also must have accountability and transparency by those organizations charged to protect these children. The safety of Kansas children is a responsibility that belongs to all of us.