BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Testimony continued Friday in the penalty phase of the Brandon Bradley murder trial.
The jury is deciding whether Bradley will get the death penalty for the shooting death of Brevard Deputy Barbara Pill.
Two of Bradley’s brothers detailed a childhood plagued by violence, and their testimony brought Bradley to tears.
Bradley, who is taking mood-altering medication, has sat expressionless for most of the trial, but Friday was the exception.
His brother, Keith Nelson, told jurors how there was no refuge from a verbally and physically abusive stepfather.
“Sometimes he’d just walk in the room and punch you in the face for no reason,” Keith Nelson said.
Childhood abuse is just one of the mitigating factors Bradley’s attorneys want jurors to consider as they decide whether to recommend life in prison or the death penalty.
Keith Nelson told the jury Bradley ran away from home as a teenager, and the beating continued when he returned home.
He said he and his brothers were badly beaten with palm frawns, cords, or whatever else Bradley’s stepfather could get his hands on.
“Brandon got most of it because he had to stay there the longest time,” Bradley’s other brother, Anthony Nelson, said.
Anthony Nelson said Bradley was a happy boy, but by the time he was 13-years-old, there was nothing to smile about anymore.
He said their mother did little to protect them from their stepfather’s abuse.
Jurors also heard from one of Bradley’s former girlfriends who recalled after the murder of Bradley’s cousin, and the death of their unborn child, that Bradley grew paranoid.
She said Brandon thought people were following him and he began carrying a gun.
The jury also heard from a witness on Friday who claimed Bradley was in fear for his own life when he shot and killed Pill.
A defense psychologist said Bradley was paranoid and impaired at the time of the shooting.
Psychologist Jaquelyn Olander testified that from both a psychological and cognitive perspective, Bradley was substantially impaired on March 6, 2012, when he shot and killed Pill.
Olander also said during testimony that Bradley was being largely influenced by his co-defendant, Andria Kerchner.
Olander said Bradley may have not realized that the couple removed items from a west Melbourne Econo Lodge.
Prosecutors quickly pounced on the idea of Bradley being a passive participant.
They said Bradley didn't listen as Kerchner begged him not to shoot.