Assault Victim on Hostage Situation - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/17/06

Assault Victim on Hostage Situation

Billy Eskins Billy Eskins
Robbie Brower Robbie Brower

In the recent hostage situation in Statesboro, in which authorities say Robbie and Connie Brower held attorney Michael Hostilo against his will for over 24 hours before surrendering, there was no demand for money nor a way to escape. Robbie Brower just wanted what he believed to be justice.

We looked into Brower's past to find out what he wanted justice for. Eleven years ago, police arrested Brower for attacking his brother-in-law with a hammer. He pled guilty, but has denied he did it ever since. And his says his attorney--Michael Hostilo--did him wrong.

Today we spoke exclusively with the man he attacked and the man's wife, who witnessed the whole thing. Despite the passage of years, Billy Eskins hasn't forgotten the day Brower attacked him.

"He pulls out the hammer and starts beating me in the head, then jumps on my back and rides me down and beats me on the ground," Billy recalled. 

Brower beat him with the hammer's claw. "You can actually see the spots on my head where the hammer went in," Billy said.

Brower used to be married to Billy' sister. He says Brower abused her and their daughter. That's what led to the fight. After Brower pled guilty to the assault, Billy told us, "they gave him one year and four months."

But then Brower said he didn't attack Billy. But Deborah Eskins-Nessmith says she saw him do it. "Billy's blood is on the hammer, the police officers have the hammer, they had the evidence," she said. "He even requested to have the hammer returned to him. To me it sounds like he's guilty."

Brower hasn't given up his contention that he was wronged. That was obvious when he took his former lawyer in the case hostage yesterday.

"When I heard it was him, I was like, 'Why, after all this time?'" said Deborah.

This isn't the first time Brower has protested this case. In 1997, he staged a hunger strike outside the Chatham County Courthouse. But it didn't last long. Police came and asked him to leave.

"Stupidity," said Deborah. "Get out of jail comes up here and decides he's not going to eat because he was wrongly accused."

Billy and Deborah hope, now that Brower is back in jail, that this time they can put the attack and all the drama behind them.

They say they've never met Brower's new wife, who participated in the hostage standoff. They don't know why she took part.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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