Our previous story on Harrell Braddy generated numerous comments and can be read by clicking on the archives to the right (Should Harrell Franklin Braddy Be Fed to the Gators? 7-18-07) A Miami-Dade jury has reassembled in court 8-28, a month after jurors convicted Harrell Braddy of first-degree murder for tossing 5 year old Quatisha Maycock into the Everglades to be eaten by alligators. Only one issue is before the jury. Should Braddy be executed for murder.
Braddy is a 57-year-old felon. The jury will learn more about Braddy then what was revealed during his trial for murder of 5-year-old Quatisha Maycock and the kidnapping and attempted murder of her mother, Shandelle. Assistant State Attorney Abbe Rifkin plans to educate the jury about Braddy's extensive criminal record. Braddy has tried to kill before in the eyes of the prosecution.
Defense attorney Terry Lenamon will likely provide evidence of Braddy's subsequent reform and his involvement in his church. (Is this where Rev. J.J. chimes in with his two cents?) Circuit Judge Leonard Glick will also be presented testimony from Braddy's family who will be hurt by his execution. (See previous comments from supporters of Braddy in previous archive thread.)
The sentencing phase of trial was delayed Monday when juror Jose Ravelo revealed that since the end of the first trial, he had been charged with felony littering. Judge Leonard Glick promptly dismissed Ravelo from the jury. A second juror was also dismissed because he is enrolled in the police academy in Broward. The juror would miss too much time to qualify for certification if he continues to attend the trial. (Perhaps L.S. can shed light on this juror.)
There remains one more alternate juror.
Expect plenty of testimony about how Braddy has bettered himself in jail. He apparently has completed paralegal studies and professes his new found Christian faith. Braddy's family will no doubt be devastated by his execution. Is that enough to over come the heinous nature of this crime?
8-31-07 Update:Harrell Braddy's family testified Wednesday in a desperate attempt to try to save him from execution. Braddy has spent nearly 22 of the past 23 years in prison. Braddy's children and brothers acknowledged under cross exam that they barely know him. One such witness was Braddy's daughter, Alexis, 22. Her father was in prison when she was born. Alexis met him in a prison visitation room. Most of her contact with Braddy has been by telephone.
Harrell Braddy Jr., (Braddy's son) testified that his father was a good dad until he was 11 and went to prison. Assistant State Attorney Abbe Rifkin gently cross examined Braddy's son. Braddy's brothers Irwin and Thomas also testified how they would be "devastated" by Braddy's execution. Rifkin elicited from cross examination that Braddy had been raised in a loving family.
The families testimony is in contrast to the corrections officer's testimony that Braddy choked him during an escape. Braddy pleaded guilty to the 1984 escape and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Braddy was released on parole in 1997. He went back to prison in 1998 for killing five year old Quatisha Maycock and tried to kill her mother, Shandelle. The prosecution will ask for the death penalty as testimony in front of Judge Glick comes to a conclusion.
Update 9-1-07: Harrell Braddy's 85-year-old mother could not hold back the tears as she learned that the jury voted 11 to 1 to recommend the death penalty. Braddy's face revealed no emotion as the jury's decision was read. Assistant State Attorney Abbe Rifkin had argued hard in closing for the death penalty because of Braddy's record and because of his torturing Quatisha Maycock. "We know he commits violent felonies... This is a guy who cannot live in the community without hurting someone,'' Rifkin told the jury.
Rifkin bombarded the jury with Braddy's history of felony convictions (attempted murder of a corrections officer, kidnapping an elderly couple, attempted murder and kidnapping of Shandelle Maycock). The imagery of Quatisha cruel death was etched in the jurors minds. (The medical examiner testified that the Quatisha was still alive when alligators bit her head and stomach.)Braddy's defense attorney, Terence Lenamon, (perhaps a reader of Legal Pub) questioned the mechanism of how and when Quatisha died. He argued that she may have suffered the fatal injury when her motherand her jumped out of Braddy's car. Lenamon refuted Rifkin's argument that Braddy planned for the child to die. He questioned why only one detective said that Braddy said he had to eliminate the little girl as a witness. Rather, Lenamon claimed it was more probably all a "horrible mistake." He also told the jury, ''You have the right to say no more killing.'' (In a way, the jury just did.)
Braddy's ultimate fate is now in the hands of Circuit Judge Leonard Glick. He will likely follow the jury's recommendation.
Update 10-24 07 : To no one's surprise, Harrell Franklin Braddy, who was convicted of murder for leaving a 5-year-old girl to be eaten alive by alligators in the Everglades, was sentenced to death last week by Judge Leonard Glick. Potential appeals will be exhausted before any exectution is carried out.