SALT LAKE CITY — As her husband's sentencing for murder looms, Bianca Pearman-Brooks is gearing up to proclaim his innocence and do whatever she can to get the legal system to set him free.
A jury convicted Eugene Christopher Wright in April of the Nov. 15, 2007, shooting death of Kenneth Dolezsar in the parking lot of a Sandy Village Inn. Dolezsar was a prominent Springville businessman and part-time hockey coach at then-Utah Valley State College.
Wright has been in jail since his Feb. 28, 2008, arrest and will be sentenced Friday for murder and aggravated robbery, both first-degree felonies. He could be put behind bars for life.
"I know Chris did not do this," declares Pearman-Brooks, who took the witness stand during the trial and swore that Wright had been with her at the time of the murder because both of them were sick with food poisoning. "I believe completely in his innocence. He did not shoot that man."
Pearman-Brooks, who speaks with a lilting British accent, was born in Ireland, raised in England and "bits of Africa," was tutored at home and attended four universities but never found a course of study she liked all that much. Today, she works online from Salt Lake City managing financial affairs for an English businessman.
She is in the United States legally and will be eligible for citizenship in three years.
She met Wright in August 2006 while in America visiting her best friend, who threw a dinner party that brought the couple together. Their attraction was "almost instant," she said. "When you meet the right one, you know."
Seven months later, the two were married in Las Vegas.
"We had an Elvis. We decided to have the full cliche," Pearman-Brooks said.
She still is shocked that Wright was even charged with killing Dolezsar, much less facing the prospect of receiving a long prison sentence.
She flatly rejects the idea that he is capable of murdering anyone. "He's a big guy, and he looks a little intimidating, but he's a softie. He's a man who watches 'The Notebook' (movie) and cries through the whole thing."
Pearman-Brooks particularly takes issue with the idea that Wright would have become homicidal, as prosecutors suggested, if Dolezsar was planning to not take part in a business deal.
Wright was a developer who was working on two high-end recreational vehicle parks in Texas and Idaho and an assisted-living facility in Park City, she said. "Christopher had deals fall through all the time — it's the nature of the business. He wouldn't throw away his life over a loan that had gone south."
Although the jury verdict came as a shock and she said she "wept quite solidly for two months" afterward, Pearman-Brooks is no critic of the U.S. court system.
"The legal system worked with what the Sandy police gave them, and it was just so fundamentally flawed in so many ways," she said.
Pearman-Brooks is convinced that Sandy police focused on her husband because he bought a disposable cell phone (which Wright had said was at Dolezsar's request) and built the case around that fact rather than exploring all options. "It was farcical."
In addition, she suspects David Novak, a somewhat mysterious figure who brought Wright and Dolezsar together and has since left town, played a role in all this that she believes should have been investigated further.
Pearman-Brooks said she wants to start a foundation to help people with legal expenses in criminal cases who do not qualify for court-appointed attorneys, and she also will help her husband with his appeals.
Pearman-Brooks said no one deserves to be gunned down as Dolezsar was and, as for Dee Mower, Dolezsar's widow, "It must be awful to lose a husband permanently."
For Pearman-Brooks, though, the focus is on the future.
She's visited her husband in jail twice a week, which she said is all she is allowed, and they write to each other daily. The court appeals might take a long time, but she's prepared.
"I at least want a chance to get him back, and I will fight," she said. "It'll just be whatever it takes, no matter what."