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Murderer's children, ex-wife outraged over light sentence

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

STRASBURG -- Not only is Jody Lynn Bradley a murderer, he's also a hypocrite.

Those are the charges his daughter and his ex-wife leveled against Bradley, convicted last week by a Shenandoah County Circuit Court jury of second-degree murder. They are outraged the jury recommended he only serve nine years in prison for shooting to death Brendon Manning Barker, 16, plus three years on a gun charge.

Bradley, 48, of 189 Wakemans Grove Road, Edinburg, is the ex-husband of Susan Baker. Barker was dating Bradley's daughter, Sarah.

Bradley's defense centered on Barker repeatedly violating a civil no-trespass notice Bradley had obtained against him and on accusations he pushed drugs on Sarah. Numerous witnesses, including Barker's parents, testified Bradley told them he'd shoot Barker if he returned.

"Brendon was not a drug dealer," Sarah said.

Baker said Bradley was different when they married in 1992. He was fun, but, she said, he got into drugs and wouldn't quit, so she left. Baker, Strasburg's first female town police officer, had sole custody of Sarah and the couple's son, Dylan, now 13.

She points at a patch on the ceiling, remnants of a hole she says Bradley left when he found out she filed a no-trespass notice against him in late 1996.

"[Bradley] is not somebody you fool with," Baker said. "He's somebody you tiptoe around. I have for years."

The couple briefly reconciled, leading to the birth of Dylan. For many years, Bradley only saw the children at Christmas, Baker said. They began seeing him again in 2007 while the trespass notice was still in effect, Baker said.

"He made a point of coming in the house," she said. "So, how can he use that as an excuse for killing somebody?"

Sarah moved in with Bradley in May 2008 after she and Baker began fighting over missed curfews. Baker said Bradley at first let Sarah do as she pleased before cracking down on her. He started keeping his daughter and Barker apart after finding out she spent the night with him and a friend rather than the girlfriend she'd said she was with.

Bradley got the no-trespassing notice after finding a partially clad Barker in Sarah's room. She says they were just dressing him up in girl clothes to show Dylan. The boy continued to sneak over, unbeknownst to his parents, she said.

Sarah and her mother have seen online message boards blaming her and Barker for the shooting, and justifying Bradley's actions. Sarah believes if Bradley hadn't shot Barker that night, he would have another night.

"This was in no way Jody Bradley saving Sarah from Brendon," Baker said. "This was him angry."

Sarah added, "I think that made [Bradley] mad, that he tried so hard to break us up, but we wouldn't. It wasn't just a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. He was my best friend."

Sarah and her mother say Bradley, who testified that he takes pain medicine for his back, abused prescription drugs. Baker is galled that a nephew, who she says provided her daughter with drugs after the murder, sat in court to support Bradley.

Sarah -- who never was a wild girl according to her mother -- said she and Barker rarely smoked pot, which they got at school. Barker urged her to cut back. Bradley knew about her smoking.

"He told me there's only one problem, you've got to watch where you get [it] from," Sarah said. "He said it could mess you up for life and he has gotten stuff that has been laced."

Sarah said her father caught her and two girlfriends smoking marijuana outside the house and just told them to stop.

"That's someone who's really angry about drug use?" Baker asked.

These days, Sarah said, she doesn't do drugs, and her mother tests her for their presence.

Sarah believes Bradley was driven by "jealousy and attention."

"Anything [pets] that got too close, he kicked it out or killed it," she said.

Sarah said Bradley called the police when the two started arguing, with her demanding to know why he wasn't around for seven years.

"He picked me off his bed and threw me," Sarah said.

The incident impacted Dylan.

"I used to think he was OK," Dylan said. "He used to throw the football with me, play basketball a little bit. When I saw him throw his fit with Sarah, I saw him a different way. He was pretty much a jerk. Maybe when he gets out, I might run into him, but I never really want to visit him because I just really noticed how much it hurt Sarah and it hurt the family."

Both children are in therapy, and Sarah, who worked on a scrapbook of Barker as she talked, has flashbacks of the shooting. Baker thinks her children will feel the effects of their father's actions for years.

"The flashbacks, they get so bad, I wake up in cold sweats every morning," Sarah said. "I have nightmares that Dad gets out of jail and he comes after me. I'm just so scared he's going to come after me or Mom, or [Barker's] family. Every time I hear a loud noise, I think someone's getting shot, or I'm going to get shot. I need an escape route wherever I am in case there's a shooting.

"Once he gets out, there's no way I'm ever getting near him," she continued. "I will change my name if I have to. I'm not going to live here because of the fact he will get out around here. Especially if I have kids. The mentality of Dad, I'm afraid he will come after us. It's our fault."

Sarah says her grandmother has disowned her, and leaving court one day, an aunt walked by and said, "Good job, Sarah. I hope you're happy."

The jury's sentence left Sarah "mad and confused."

"All these people had to agree to this," she said. "How do they think that this is right? And then, having to sit there while they call everyone's name out and they agree to it, hurt so bad."

Finding it too painful to hear classmates' questions at school, Sarah has obtained her GED. She will finish some culinary classes at Triplett Tech and hopes to study criminal justice so she can help crime victims.

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This article leaves even more questions about the choices everyone made. If Bradley was such a loose cannon why wasn't more attention paid to the threats that he made? If an ex-wife had to "tiptoe" around this man then why was the daughter allowed to even live there? Reading this article makes one think that Bradley was a dangerous man with his own addictions and not competent enough to raise a child whom he had only the briefest of contact with throughout her life. The ex wife being a police officer makes this tragedy even more ludicrous. Having had first hand experience with Mr. Bradley and his temper and a law enforcement background why wasn't more attention paid to the threats and why were the kids not warned of the danger of violating the trespass? I realize the article is showing a very slanted viewpoint but the questions still remain about how many people involved could have stepped in to help avert this young man's death. It is also very sad to know that the family is at odds although it sounds as though the younger child does at least have some memory of a genuine father. Perhaps the best way to help these children would be for everyone involved to admit to some culpability in the outcome, forgive one another, learn from the mistakes made and move forward as a family and a community united to see that something like this never happens again...

Cathy C

THANK YOU...Dylan wants to see his father and has once


The day of the shooting, in that house, who was the adult in the situation? Everyone knows it's wrong to shoot and kill. I'm tired of hearing people sticking up for the father he knew what he was getting ready to do that day. He's a grown man. There might be more to this story but I would think that if there was anything else it would have come out already especially in the trial. Bottom line is it's wrong to kill someone, that doesn't just go against state and fed. law that goes against a higher power.


sounds like the boy has written the JERK off,thats his own words ms cathy c accept others opinion of the worthless piece of ....


If the restraining order was the issue for defense, why didn't he call the police while he had the "intruder" barricaded in the attic? He premeditated the whole thing and the world has lost a wonderful young man!!!!!!!!!!! Mr. Bradley has GREATLY impacted so many people -- not only his family and Brendon's family, but their friends and classmates and all those who loved and knew Brendon and love and know Sarah. Shame on everyone who makes excuses for this man!!!!!!!!!!


This is the 3rd comment that i have submitted maybe it will be printed .The 3 people that know this piece of .... has spoken.The girl sara has said that his family has disowed her. sara thank the lord above that these people wont be a part of your life any longer.Blood is thicker than water,but come on what their blood did was senseless and their is no excuse.its ashame the ex-wife didnt do this to this coward long ago when he defied a no trespass order.The daughter said it was jealousy and a lack of attention .from who ,her a young daughter ,.kids are not companions for us our wives and girlfriends are suppose to be that. The man has made a mockery out of our system,with the help of a jury that didnt have the back bone it takes to do whats right ,because a few couldnt stand against one hold out .what was more important at that moment in your lives ?? what ever it was ,it wasnt justice for this young boy ???thats crazy this sentence doesnt fit the crime .a 17 yro was sentenced to 7 yrs robbery yesterday in warren county,but thats the fairness of judge hupp to make the boy do a little hard time ,but also give him a chance to grow up and mature and do something with life.if this boy would have been tried by a jury he would have recieved more time than jody boy, smart on his part to take a bench trial.But then again if ol jody had a bench trial we all would be some what satisfied with the punishment ,its done but this piece of .... has losted a lot more than we can see right now.... he needs to pay every red cent to this mother and father in the civil suit.im sure a jury will see it right during that trial.and when he gets out ,if he does he has to fork over his money every week the rest of his life,even starting with the 20 cent an hour job in prison .i hope its slow and painful on him....


Ok first of all if Jody was soo mean and you had to tiptoe around him why in the world would you send your daughter to live with him? The mother says Sarah is not a wild child well then why couldn't she handle her? Now they are trying their hardest to dig up things Jody MAY have done in the past to make him look bad. Im sure we all have done things in our younger years that we do not want our kids to do, just because someone MAY have tried things early in life does not mean we are hypocrites for not wanting our children to follow our foot steps. Now Sarah is saying she is afraid of her father and thats crazy he was protecting her if he did not love her he would not have cared that her grades were droping and wouldn't have been concerned she was doing drugs. No I don't think Jody should have shot the boy but I also feel he was driven to do it, he turned to so many people for help and got no where. I think he should have beat his butt good for him instead of killing him though. This is a very bad situation, if only the Barker family would have done more to four fill Jody's wishes of the boy to stay away from his daughter, a man don't just call someone and make that sort of threat for someone not to take him serious. The family should have done more to keep the boy away. Sarah instead of looking at her father soo bad saying she's afraid of him needs to look at why he is setting behind bars if she would have listened to him instead of going against him sneaking the boy in this would have NEVER happened and now for her to say she's scared of him is awful Jody loved her with all his heart. It's not like Jody is a free man he will be behind bars for at least 12yrs.

love my grandkids

I dont agree that if there were more to this story it would have came out!!! If thats the case then why are they tryin to dig up dirt on Jody??????As personally knowin Jody for 40years,hes not at all the bad,crazy person everyone wants him to be!!!!!Jody is as normal as you or anyone else!!!All the boy did was farm and work hard all his life!!I agree if they knew he was a bad person and was jealous and didnt want an animal or anything to be close to Sarah why was she aloud to live with him??As for custody the mother always seems to get that, unless shes rotten to the core!!!That would be the only reason most men get thier children or the mother just walks out!!!He always had visitation and the mother went back a second time ,so if it was that bad i would not have went back for any reason,especially pregnant!!All i would want is safety for my kids and if he was what they are tryin to say that would not be safety!!!As for the grandmother disowning her has Sarah tried to make sure that is true??If it is would you see why,its been alot said about the family and all!!!!All of Jodys family are good people and would not harm anyone,By the way i havent seen or heard of any articles from that family,I havent heard them try to run anyone in the ground not even Brendon, no matter whos fault they may think it was!!!!until people know what really happened why dont everyone just keep thier mouth shut!!!Opions are like........everyone has one and they dont mean....!!!!!!!so stop all the bull of guessing!!


That has to be the most ignorant statement I've heard yet. If he was trying to protect her why did he barracade her in with him. No matter what excuse you use to justify what he did, it still sounds plain stupid. The daughter witnessed her father shoot her boyfriend in the head in the same room she was in. She has the right to say whatever she wants.


First of all, I imagine Mr. Bradley was frustrated with the situation, there is no doubt in my mind that he was...but what parent hasn't had to deal with a similar situation? My kids often hung around with people, snuck out, had people snuck in, etc. I was frustrated and at my wits end on MANY occasions. It's what teenagers do! Did I ever once consider killing the bad influence boy who I did not like? NO!!!! Never crossed my mind! And that's the difference. A reasonable and logical person wouldn't go to the extremes that Mr. Bradley did!

As far as the ex-wife saying all this stuff now. Just because an ex-wife has to tip-toe around an ex husband, doesn't mean the child has the same issue with her father Lets remember here, Sarah was not the one who was killed, Brendan was. Doesn't necassarly mean Sarah was ever in danger just because of the issues with the ex, although I understand now why she is fearful.

Furthermore, wasn't the daughter just as much of a problem as Brendan? Didn't she allow him into the residence when she knew her father didn't want him there? Yes, she did. It would be one thing if Brendan was the sole problem in the situation and Sarah felt to be in danger of him. But that wasn't the case. She was just a responsible for him coming in the home, if not more than Brendan himself. Maybe Bradley should have been more pro-active in reguards to her.

I also think it's important to note, that when a trespassing order is placed, if a household member invites that person into the home, the trepassing paper becomes void. The can and does include juvenilles inviting the person in.

Bottom line. As parents, we have all been frustrated with our children and the choices they make. However, we didn't shoot and kill the "problems".


you think you know EVERYTHING. you don't talk to dylan or the family so stop act like you know whats going on.


being a friend of sarah I completely understand why she is upset about the sentencing of her dad, how can you just kill somebody an only get 9 years for murder? when he saw brendon in his house why couldn't he just call the police an let them handle it? instead of shooting a innocent 16 yr old boy an taking the life of a great person, a great friend. sarah was not a wild child, so some of you who keep saying "if she wasnt such a wild child then how come she was sent to live with her father?". she could have fun just sitting in the house talking. some of you are acting like you knew them but you really dont. your just reading a newspaper an going off of that. sarah has told me stories of her father an they werent good. I just think his sentencing should have been more then just 9 years for murder an 3 years for having a firearm !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! well after all when he does get out, there are going to be so many people still angry about what happened. I feel real sorry for Brendon's family.


What was this jury thinking,(Bradley) should have gotten the Death penatly, instead he gets a slap on the wrist and the jury basically says its okay to shoot someone. This probably encourages other losers like(Bradley) to shoot someone, hey he got off easy.

I want to send my support and condolences out to the (Barker Family & Sarah) I can only imagine the pain and suffering you are going through because of this A**. He deserves pain and suffering and I pray to god that he gets what he deserves.

Not one of those Jurors spoke up for (Brendon), his voice was taken, by an inhuman animal, they needed to give (brendon) a voice, speak for him and for his family, but they coward... If it matters, I will speak out and say that justice and the system have failed one again to punish the true criminals who deserve the death penatly. (Bradley) doesn't deserve to sit behind bars... He deserves much more than that.

All I know is that god will repremand him, and punish him for taking a childs life who had his entire world infront of him. If someone doesn't speak up against this killer and protect our children the who will, I think he will kill again, its like a dog with the taste of blood, it comes back for more... I think (Bradley) will be a threat to society. He is a killer. May peace come to the (Barker Families Hearts) know that (Brendon) is in a better place and we will all join him one day, God has made him someones Gaurdian Angel.

Cathy C

I spoke with Susan Bradley 2 or 3 days after the accident, hoping to speak to Sarah & Dylan...I alo know Dylan has written to his father on occasion...until recently. As for how Jody appears to those of you who don't know him, he has a very kind heart, and at one time I was lucky enough to have been a part of he & his children's lives on the family farm for 3 years. I sat through this, and not across the street at the cafe. I would not comment if I did not know Susan and the children too. I wanted to reach out to Sarah, but she was not available. Again I wish to say that I still am praying for every family involved.


All i would like to say and ask everyone who has followed and read this story is all of you have been 16 yrs old or have a child who has been 16 yrs old. You and your children at that age have been somewhere you should not have been. How would it feel to have someone knock on your door and tell you your son or daughter was shot and killed. I really would like everyone to really think about that WHAT IF THAT WAS YOU OR YOUR SON OR YOUR DAUGHTER? Would everyone that supports Mr. Bradley feel the same if that was your son or daughter?

And if you say you would feel the same you would be lying through your teeth! I do not know Mr. Bradley nor am i saying he was a bad person before this incident. But if someone knocked on your door and told you that your son or daughter was shot and killed how would you react! I dont think you would say my son or daughter deserved to die b/c they were somewhere they shouldnt have been. So just remember to think what your saying before you say it b/c this situation could one day be in your court. So I will leave with a sorry for your loss the Barker family had to suffer and may the lord be with you.

love my grandkids

I agree why dont people stop pointing fingures and keep the mouths shut!!!!!!EVERYONE SAYING GOD WILL DO THIS AND THAT ARE ONLY HYPOCRITS,becuase only GOD can and will do what is rite no one in this world but him knows what he will do and thats only judging.THOW SHALL NOT JUDGE,so let both families go on and try to get over all the pain including Jody,im sure he is paying dearly for what has happened.Im praying for all involved,no matter what or whos to blame only one man can judge,and thats none of us.


How do you live with yourself constantly defending this man?
He KILLED A CHILD!!!!!!!!! and why would anyone want to talk to you about anything so you can preach about how he didn't know it was brendon & he did it out of love .what a lie. In my opionon the only person jody bradley loves is jody bradley!


I lived in Shenandoah county for over 20 years and due to my occupation i was frequently in court there.I saw misjustice there all the time,i saw police with tears in their eyes they were so mad about the verdicts in the trials they were involved in.I saw people who were guilty as sin get away with crimes and walk out smiling knowing they beat the system.Your counties judges(and recently retired ones)are so spineless its disgusting.Long story short.....IN SHENANDOAH COUNTY YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH MURDER(and a whole lot more as well).I am happy to live now in a place where justice is served,not abused.

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