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Bradley likely to appeal conviction

Judge ruled the doctrine for protecting self, others did not apply in shooting

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- Jody Lynn Bradley will likely appeal his second-degree murder conviction, his defense attorney, Gene Hart, said late last week.

On Aug. 20, a Shenandoah County Circuit Court jury found Bradley guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of his daughter's boyfriend, Brendon Manning Barker, 16, on Jan. 6. Jurors recommended he serve nine years in prison, outraging Barker's family and Bradley's daughter, Sarah, 17, who wanted a longer sentence.

Bradley, 48, of 189 Wakemans Grove Road, Edinburg, will serve an additional three years for use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

"We were hoping for acquittal, and we've got a couple of appeal issues," Hart said.

Those are related to Judge Dennis L. Hupp's ruling that jurors couldn't be instructed on the castle doctrine or the defense of others, said Hart, who is unsure if he'd be representing Bradley on appeal.

With the jury out of the courtroom on Aug. 19, Hart argued that Bradley believed Barker was supplying Sarah Bradley with methamphetamine, leading him to reasonably feel she was in danger of great bodily harm.

Sarah Bradley has testified, and stated in a later interview, that she did no drugs harder than marijuana, and that she supplied Barker more often than he supplied her. Moreover, she said in a post-trial interview, Barker encouraged her to cut down her pot smoking.

Hupp said Sarah Bradley had exited the attic where her father shot Barker and was not in imminent danger of harm from the boy. Protecting someone else in the home relates to self-defense, anyway, he said.

While a draft castle doctrine was before the 2008 General Assembly, it did not pass, Hart said. But, he said, Barker was in Bradley's home, from which he'd been barred, at night and in a crouched position, and his client believed he was in imminent danger of bodily harm.

Hupp said Bradley's action wasn't to keep an intruder out of his home, and self-defense allows the degree of physical force necessary to protect yourself and others, not any degree of force.

Hart said Bradley's family was "relieved" this stage of his case was over.

"We're going to respect the verdict even though we respectfully disagree with it," he said. "That jury clearly took their instructions to heart and had a difficult time with a difficult case."

When Bradley is sentenced Nov. 18, the judge can suspend some of the recommended time if he wishes, but cannot raise it, Hart said.

"If he does not suspend any of the sentence, he can provide for post-release supervision of up to three years, and also put a period of suspended jail time of up to three years if he puts him on post-release supervision," he said.

Hart addressed issues raised by one of the jurors who said another panel member "blackmailed" them into giving Bradley a lighter sentence than they wished.

"A jury's verdict is the jury's verdict, and not something that can be disturbed later on," he said.

Hart's comments regarding the jury were backed up by retired Circuit Judge John J. McGrath Jr. When asked when a jury decision could be reviewed, he said, "There are a lot of caveats that go with it, but virtually never."

University of Richmond law professor Ron Bacigal agreed.

"The law is clear that they're not going to deal with what took place in the jury room," he said.

The only issue that would be examined is if outside influence, such as a bribe, was exerted, Bacigal said.

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All I have to say is if he appeal's it an gets a lighter sentence there is something seriously wrong with our court system!!!! 9 year's is nothing, he should have got more or death. Basicially our system is saying it's alright to shoot a innocent person an only get a light sentence.


Innocent???? He was violating a trespassing order. He knew he was violating it, Bradley's daughter knew he was violating it. Bradley even said he would shoot him if he caught him there. Personally, I probably would have just beat the crap out of the kid if I'd caught him, but hey, to each his own. I believe a man has a right to protect his children and his property. I hope the appeal gets his sentence lowered.


patriot.. how in the world could you want a man that shot and killed a child to get a lower sentence? you must not have children.. now i agree that the child shouldnt have been there that night, but still gives NO MAN the right to take anothers life..lets not forget he was a invited guest by the daughter.. guess you were never young and in love either or you would understand what it is like to want to be with the one you think you love at such a young age...


Sure, the kid was guilty of trespassing. He was guilty of a Class I Misdemeanor according to the Code of Virginia; the same type of crime as shoplifting a pack of gum from Food Lion.

So I guess it's okay for the manager of Food Lion to shoot a child in the head at near point blank range the next time one of them steals a pack of gum. According to your way of thinking all he has to do is prove that he was protecting his business.

I say let the punishment fit the crime even though in this case it doesn't. He should never see the light of day again.

People in prison love those who abuse or kill children. I can't wait to see what happens to him in prison, even though he won't be there long enough.


What about the responsibilities of everyone else? If I was the parent of a young man who someone had threaten to kill. I would do my best to keep him away from them, as I am sure they did...but some of the blame would be mine.

What about the young lady? Why would she invite someone over when your father, who you now say you were so frighten of, had threaten to kill. Is she not also responsible, does she not share in the blame?

What about the young lady's mother? She has allot to say now about what a bad parent Mr. Bradley was. Why did she leave her there, does not some of the blame go there?

I would think so.


Claymore, you are right about people in prison loving anyone who abuses or hurts children and as the sentance stands he will not be there very long. I truely believe that the ones in prison he needs to be scared of will make him pay for how ever long he is there. Granted whatever "love" they show him will in no way be enough to make up for what he did, but they will have fun doing it.

We are taught at an early age that we shoudl trust in our justice system from beginning to end. I wonder how the children that knew Brendon and Sarah will ever find a way to trust the judicial system after this farce of a sentance??

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