Man Arrested, Charged with 2017 Murder of Brownstown Man

A Mulberry Grove man was arrested last week and charged with the murder of a 56 year old rural Brownstown man in September of 2017.

In a release from the Fayette County Sheriff’s office on Wednesday, it stated “Today the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Illinois State Police Zone 7 Investigations and the Fayette County State’s Attorney, arrested 68 year old David Leroy Bright of Mulberry Grove for the murder of James R. Skinner.”

Skinner was found dead at his home on Illinois Route 185 in rural Brownstown on Sept. 17 of 2017. At the time, Fayette County Coroner Bruce Bowen along with police investigating determined the death to be suspicious.

Sheriff Chris Smith stated that Bright was transferred to Fayette County Jail from the Bond County Jail where he was being held on a charge of violating sex offender registration state law.

Bright went in front of a judge last Thursday morning where he was advised as to the charges against him. He is being charged with two counts of first degree murder. Case information states that Bright allegedly “without legal justification, struck James Skinner in the head with a sledgehammer, knowing said act created a strong possibility of death to James Skinner, thereby causing the death of James Skinner.”

The charges against Bright are both Class M Felonies, punishable by 20 years to life in prison.

Bill Starnes has been appointed as Bright’s public defender, although Bright has the right to hire private counsel so should he choose.

Sheriff Smith said in his release that he would like to thank the ISP Zone 7 Investigations for the many hours they put into solving this case. Smith also thanked the Bond County Sheriff and Bond County State’s Attorney’s Office for their assistance on the case. Smith also noted “this should make the residents of Fayette County feel safe knowing we have a suspect in custody.”

Bright’s preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 13 at 11 a.m. Bright is currently being held at the Fayette County Jail on a bond of $1 million.

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