Monday, June 4, 2012

The Impending Execution of Michael Brawner

Jan Michael Brawner, Jr. sits on death row awaiting execution by the people of Mississippi on 12 June. I present the following summary of his crime from the appellate decision in Brawner v. State (2006).
In December 1997, Brawner married Barbara Craft, and in March 1998, their daughter, Paige, was born. Brawner and Barbara divorced in March 2001, she was awarded custody of Paige, and they lived with Barbara's parents, Carl and Jane Craft, at their home in Tate County. Brawner also lived with the Crafts off and on during his marriage to Barbara. 
At the time of the murders, Brawner was living with his girlfriend June Fillyaw, in an apartment in Southaven. According to Brawner, they were having financial difficulties, and on top of that, he had also been told by Barbara that she did not want him around Paige. He testified that pressure on him was building because nothing was going right. 
On the day before the murders, Brawner left his apartment in Southaven at 3:00 a.m. and headed toward the Crafts' house, about an hour away. He testified that he thought he might be able to borrow money from Carl, although in a prior statement he said he had planned to rob Carl. While waiting on the Craft's front steps from approximately 4:00 a.m. until 7:00 a.m., he took a 7-mm Ruger rifle out of Carl's truck and emptied the bullets from it, because "he didn't want to get shot." A dog started barking, and Brawner hid until Carl went back inside, then ran away, thinking Carl might be getting a gun. He then drove back to his apartment. 
Around noon the following day, April 25, 2001, Brawner again drove to the Crafts' house, and knocked on the door, but no one was home. He then put on rubber gloves that he had purchased earlier that day, "took the slats out of the back door," entered the house, and took a .22 rifle. He then went to Carl's workplace and asked him if it would be OK to go out to the house to wait for Barbara and Paige so that he could see his daughter, to which Carl agreed. 
Since Barbara and Paige did not return, Brawner decided to leave, and as he was doing so, Barbara, Paige, and Jane pulled into the drive. After a brief conversation with Jane and Barbara, Brawner became agitated and went to the truck and brought back the rifle that he had taken from the Crafts' house earlier that day. Just as he told Barbara that she was not going to take Paige away from him, he saw Jane walking toward the bedroom and shot her with the rifle. He said he then shot Barbara as she was coming toward him, and went to where Jane had fallen and "put her out of her misery." After this, he shot Barbara again and took Paige, who had witnessed the murders, to her bedroom and told her to watch TV. After Brawner determined that Paige would be able to identify him, and in his words, he "was just bent on killing," he went back into the bedroom and shot his daughter twice, killing her. He then waited in the house until Carl came home from work, and when Carl walked through the door, Brawner shot and killed him. 
Brawner stole approximately $300 from Carl's wallet, Jane's wedding ring, and food stamps out of Barbara's purse. He took Windex from the kitchen and attempted to wipe away any fingerprints he may have left. Brawner then returned to his apartment in Southaven, where he gave the stolen wedding ring to Fillyaw, asked her to marry him, and told her that he bought the ring at a pawn shop. 
Brawner was suspected of the murders and detained by the police. While he was being held at the Tate County jail, Brawner admitted to the shootings in a statement made to the Chief Deputy of the Tate County Sheriff's Department. Brawner also testified on his own behalf at trial and gave essentially the same account of the events as described above. 
Brawner raised the insanity defense at trial, although he testified that he knew at the time of the shootings that his actions were wrong. The trial judge found Brawner competent based on information furnished by the Mississippi State Hospital, which certified Brawner competent to stand trial, and mentally responsible for the acts at the time they were committed. Additionally, a court-appointed psychiatrist, chosen by defense counsel, reported that Brawner was neither insane nor incompetent to stand trial.
Amnesty International argues that Brawner should not be executed because he was, for all practical purposes, defended by an inexperienced attorney who had been admitted to practice the very day Brawner's trial began. I decline to engage in such debates. I defend (by word and deed) only those who did not commit or participate in the crime for which they are being punished.

I oppose any execution in which the person to be executed may actually be innocent. In all other cases, including cases of possible ineffective counsel, I stand mute.

In the case of Michael Brawner, I stand mute.

Michael Brawner was executed by the people of Mississippi on 12 June 2012 at 6:18 PM.


Author Laurence said...

Regardless if Donald Duck defended this monster he was still guilty even by his own admission. The death penalty is too good for him, too bad he can't be partially executed for each person he killed.

Evelyn Case said...

may I suggest:
Michael Moore goes to Norway & vistits
a prison of the future.

Anonymous said...

i agree with the statement that even if donald duck defended him he admitted his crime worst of all he shot his daughter not one time but 2 times....why are taxpayers paying for his crime

Anonymous said...

Image loving someone so much it doesn't matter what he does. Image ur his mother...she suffers everyday.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure his mother does suffer everyday. I am the sister, sister-in-law, aunt, and great aunt of the victims. I have been waiting 11 long years for this day, but find that the only thing that changed is when today came, all the hurt and sadness of that day was just re-lived again. This was such a hard thing for the entire family and having him face the same punishment that he chose to inflict on 4 innocent people does not change one thing for the remaining family members.

Anonymous said...

Why did his family members not go for his last breath? Anonymous

Anonymous said...

His family wants to remember him alive and well before all of this happened. To the aunt, it was a sad lose for everyone involved. I don't presume to understand how any of u feel. No one can understand unless they walk ur shoes. I'm sorry for ur lose.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to everyone. The four killed, and his family. David the victims son, brother, and uncle. I don't understand murder. Four murders! One being your own child. And the way he killed his own child. So he was not fit for walking the streets. That was beyond evil. I know he had a bad child hood. I feel for that. He did not kill one person. Four! He got what was needed. He could have got a job if he was haveing hard times. It looks like they should have taken Paige from him. Look what he did to her! One of the victims was my Sunday school teacher. I know they are in heaven.

Anonymous said...

I am the one that just wrote the above post. I also want to do what god wants of me. To his mom I am sorry! No one wants to lose their child. I have a son. You do love your children no matter what! So I hope that you find peace, and can go on with your life. He did wrong, but you are not the one that did this. I really am sorry for you!

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