A Madison County jury has convicted a 56-year-old man of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, and unlawful restraint following what was described as the merciless death of 38-year-old Brandi Novotny of Troy, Illinois.
Brian K. France, age 56, was found guilty of six counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, two counts of criminal sexual assault, one count of unlawful restraint and one count of involuntary manslaughter.
On the counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, Class X felonies, the jury affirmed the defendant committed acts of sexual penetration which threatened or endangered the life of the victim by use of force, knowing Miss Novotny was unable to give knowing consent. On the counts of criminal sexual assault, Class 1 felonies, the jury found the defendant guilty of acts of sexual penetration by use of force and guilty in which the victim was unable to give knowing consent. The jury found the defendant guilty of unlawful restraint, a Class 4 felony, in which the defendant restrained Miss Novotny to the floorboard of his truck. Lastly, the jury found the defendant guilty of involuntary manslaughter, a Class 3 felony, after Dr. Kamal Saberwahl testified the victim’s cause of death was positional asphyxiation due to the position the victim was found in while under the influence of narcotics.
In closing arguments, Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Nolan replayed evidence from the trial which showed graphic videos, audio, and images with timestamps of the defendant performing these heinous acts on the victim.
An additional video was played from an interview with France where the investigator asked the defendant if Miss Novotny wanted him to perform these acts on her. France responded no. Further evidence included numerous lies from the defendant about the timing of the event and the redressing of Miss Novonty before calling 911.
While the defense attorney declared Miss Novotny died of an overdose because of the drugs she voluntarily used, Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Nolan argued, “The drugs did not leave her on the floorboard,” referencing back to the cause of death Dr. Saberwahl testified to which did not attribute to an overdose.
With the heavy, explicit evidence presented, the jury returned a guilty verdict after 3 hours of deliberation.
State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons commended the work of the Troy Police Department, Troy Fire Department, Illinois State Police Crime Scene, Maryville EMS, Madison County Sherriff’s Office, Madison County Coroner’s Office, and his Assistant State’s Attorney’s Kathleen Nolan and Alison Foley, for collecting the needed evidence to convict the defendant of all charges. Gibbons thanked Circuit Judge Kyle Napp for demonstrating an impartial and just trial.
“To blame Miss Novotny for her own death clearly shows Mr. France has no remorse for the merciless acts he committed. With this verdict, the jurors looked through the ludicrous lies presented by the defendant and found truth and justice in the testaments put forth by law enforcement, fire and EMT, and my prosecutors. There are no words that can express how horrible and senseless this was. I wish to extend my sincere condolences and thoughts to Miss Novotny’s family and friends during this traumatic event in their lives.”
The defendant’s sentencing will be determined typically 60-90 days following conviction.