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Some jurors feel sentence too light

One claims that panel was 'blackmailed' by member who wanted killer to get five years

By Sally Voth - svoth@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- Two members of the Shenandoah County Circuit Court jury that recommended on Thursday that Jody Lynn Bradley serve nine years in prison for murdering a 16-year-old boy said Friday that his sentence was too light. One of the jurors claimed another "blackmailed" the rest of the panel into a decision they didn't want to make.

After finding Bradley, 48, of 189 Wakemans Grove Road, Edinburg, guilty of second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, the jury recommended that he serve nine years for shooting to death Brendon Manning Barker, 16. The firearm charge carries a mandatory three-year sentence on top of the time for murder term.

Barker, a Strasburg High School student, and Bradley's daughter, Sarah, continued to see each other after her father barred him from the property and obtained a civil no-trespass notice against him. Sarah Bradley testified that Barker would sneak onto the property and that they sometimes smoked pot together, but said she was normally the one supplying it.

Barker's family and friends were shocked and outraged by the verdict -- jurors also could have chosen first-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter -- and sentence. Second-degree murder carries a five- to 40-year term.

"I hope they have nightmares over what they saw for the rest of their lives," Barker's sister, Ryan, said of the jurors after the sentence was announced.

One juror, a 48-year-old woman who asked for her name to be withheld, regrets the outcome.

"I thought he should get 20-plus [years]," she said Friday. "We had one man in there that was refusing to do anything, and he kind of blackmailed us into doing what he wanted. He wanted five years."

Asked why the other jurors agreed to a sentence they didn't like, the woman said, "Because we didn't want a hung jury, which at this point, it would've been better if it was a hung jury. The women cried. We all cried when that man refused to budge."

She said the lone juror held up the deliberations over whether Bradley was guilty of murder, and said he thought the shooting was accidental.

Defense attorney Gene Hart argued that when Bradley went up into his attic looking for an intruder -- who he admitted suspecting was Barker -- a crouching and hooded Barker startled him and he fired his gun. Blood-stain pattern expert Marjorie Harris testified that the lack of bloodstains on the front of Barker's clothes proved he was in a reclined position and wasn't leaning forward when shot.

"I have a feeling that [the holdout juror] knew the family," the juror said. "That's why he was doing what he was doing. [Bradley} knew that kid was in that house, and he kept telling everybody over and over and over, 'I'm going to kill him if I get a chance.' I'm really sorry for the outcome. I'm sorry that the guy didn't get more. I'm sorry that [Barker's mother, Janeen Johannsen] lost a son that she will never get back. I'm sorry that this turned out the way it did."

Another juror, a man who wished to remain anonymous, didn't want to comment other than to say he wished Bradley had gotten more time.

Elaine Neff was one of the original 13 jurors, but was named the alternate after the prosecution and defense rested their cases, so she didn't sit in on deliberations. She praised the prosecution's case, and said she thought Bradley should get the full 40 years.

"I think he got off easy," she said Friday. "I'm sorry, I have three sons, and I guess I probably should've excused myself when I realized this was about a 16-year-old boy, but I kept thinking, my God, the poor woman has to live with this the rest of her life. Her baby is gone."

Neff said she spoke to one of the female jurors who told her about the man on the panel who wanted Bradley sentenced to the minimum punishment for second-degree murder.

"I said, 'You've got to be kidding -- five years?'" Neff said. "I think they need to report it to the judge personally. I think they need to go to Judge [Dennis L.] Hupp and tell him that this guy did browbeat them."

Barker's family has "every right" to be upset with the outcome of the case, she said.

"I think it was terrible what they did to that woman," Neff said. "I don't think it's all the jury. I wish there was something that I could've done because I certainly didn't agree with the verdict at all. I hope [the holdout juror] can live with himself. It makes me angry. That child was a baby, 16 years old, who hadn't even begun to live life, and for that man to say, 'I thought it was an intruder.' No way when his daughter was right there [in the attic]. Good God."

Bradley showed no remorse for murdering Barker, Neff said.

"He's one of the coldest people I ever had to be around in my life, no emotion at all," she said.

From the time of the no-trespass notice being filed in November until the Jan. 6 shooting, Bradley had suspected Barker of being on his land, but had not seen him.

"But, he meant what he said, 'If I see him again, I will shoot him,'" Neff said.

While Ryan Barker's wish for jurors to have nightmares wasn't meant for Neff, she is haunted by the pictures she saw of Barker's lifeless body.

"I will never get that picture out of my mind, because it was just like looking at a baby," she said. "He was so relaxed. He didn't have a snowball's chance in Hades."




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28 Comments



anguscat

The trial should have been held in Harrisonburg. Donna Hockman got life for the same thing. What is the difference here? Shame on the other jurors. They should have stood their ground and let it go to a hung jury and let the judge know what was happening. One man did this? That is shameful. Why didn't someone notify the judge during deliberations about what this man was doing? Where are the backbones of the other 11? If you all had stood your ground and not let this happen, the worst would have been a second trial.....Were you the same 11 people that let one woman remove prayer from school? I think so.

schoolboard

Actually I think it was 55 men in Philadelphia that removed prayer from school, back in 1789.

disillusioned

This is a feeble attempt to right a wrong. I am the unfortunate spouse of one of the much maligned jurors in this case and would be doing my spouse an injustice if I did not speak out. First of all to the comment of the sister: you have your wish. Nightmares are a fact of life now for the 11 jurors who wanted the maximum penalty but had to quote, "make a deal with the devil" to get what they could in the way of justice. A hung jury or a mistrial would have been a larger travesty and these fine people did what they could with what they were given to work with. One juror could not be swayed to the majority and no assistance was provided by the court even after numerous requests.
Now a few words about the jurors. they were PEOPLE doing their civic duty as good citizens and showing up when called. None had an inkling going in what horrors and nightmares were waiting for them that day. With no advanced warning they were thrown into this morass and left to pick up the pieces of their lives when all was said and done. And for what? $30 a day and a feeling of loss and sadness. My loving spouse who is as bright as the sun and full of love was ORDERED not to discuss the things that were eating at her very soul. We have always talked through life's bumps in the road and now that avenue was closed to her. For three days she lived in torment and fear. Now that is doubled. When faced with an unyeilding person, she and her fellow jurors did what they could to see justice done. For this she and they are condemned? Where is the justice in that? Their hearts went out for the losses and the demeanor of each should have been evident. Is none moved by tears anymore? For all those who seek so called justice.... where is the justice in attacking the jury without ascertaining all of the facts?
11 jurors wanted the maximum penalty for MURDER ONE with one abstaining. No amount of forensic evidence, expert testimony, or evidence was convincing to this individual. So what swayed him from his verdict of innocent? The impassioned pleas of these regular moms, dads, grandparents, fellow human beings. For trying to do a very thankless and gruesome task these fine people are reviled and attacked. Their one small comfort is that God has the final judgement. What would YOU have done? Let yea without sin cast the first stone.

shenandoah

12 jurors walked into a room and after deliberation came out with a verdict. This is the system of justice that our country has used since its beginnings. Is the system flawed? Likely yes, one can look at the OJ fiasco and see that their are problems. Is their a better way? I really don't think so. No matter how this could have turned out people would be disgruntled. There is no way to please everyone and all opinions. This trial probably should have been moved outside of Shenandoah County but then how do you get a jury of one's peers? It is perhaps best to accept the verdict and learn a lesson here. Personally I would not have wanted to be a juror on this case, my compassion for all involved would have overwhelmed me and made sentencing impossible. Does anyone actually think that after serving his time that Jody Bradley will ever have a normal life? He will forever be the man that shot and killed his teenage daughter's boyfriend. His daughter must live forever with the choices she herself made. The boyfriend's family will forever live with a grief that no amount of time will completely heal. There are no winners here. Even the judge and jury will be villified for years to come. After all this is the justice system of our land and by the way have you hugged your teenager today?

https://me.yahoo.com/a/Pr0xQcF.2OPDREYvzS5h0qnSlcsbx0j6ODAP#17101

How can that one juror say the shooting was accidental? I feel so bad for the others, I know I would have not wanted to be in their shoes, but if you are being blackmailed into a decision then this is mistrial.

myviewpoint09

I think this was a terrible thing to have happened. Yes, he should have gotten a harder sentence but why didn't the daughter and Barker listen when they were told not to be doing anything together? With the trespass notice against him he should have listened to the father and the court. I believe I read in an earlier article that the county police were called out to the house more than a dozen times because he was trespassing? Why didn't the law do anything about this before it came to murder? I know that it was wrong to shoot to young man but why weren't things stopped before it came to this?

tim hall

well its like this,this is the worst case of injustice that in my 52years of living i have ever heard of .no i dont know any of these people .i didnt know brendon which that doesnt matter i know that human life has more worth than our puny minds can comprehen .you have one woman cathy c thinking justice was served along with good ol boy hank (aka punk)i dont even live in the area anymore i used to for about 7yrs. i know judge hupp is a fair man and a man that has compassion toward people,life no doubt a good man he has sentence me to prison ,but i cause that he had no choice but thats beside the point the point is im sure hes frusterated himself .i am in the process of trying to bring national exsposure to this case i may get it done i may not. but if all you people that are mad about a injustice here think what you can do to change this injustice, ive always thought something was funny about this jury someone and now that someone is the man that has bullied 9 women and why would 2 men allow it of course i know many women that would have stood their ground it would have came out a hung jury,he would have been tried over again oh well its not like he doesnt have the time to wait on round 2 he aint going nowhere period.. this man has flat out lied about who this twisted minded punk murderer is to him he knows him ,you cant sit on a jury and know the person on trial your not even suppose to know any family members yeah GOd is a just God he doesnt allow injustice to go un punished.in his time it all comes to light

hokiefan540

anguscat,
you have to take into consideration that Donna Hockman commited the crime in Lacy Springs so that would mean that it would fall into the jusrisdication of Rockingham county..Bradly commited the crime in Edinburg so that would mean it falls under the Shenandoah County Jurisdiction. Also the jury had to take into consideration that the boy had been warned multiple times and even had a trespass notice..last I checked that meant that he couldnt come anywhere near his property..so if the kids wanted to see each other then why couldnt they go somewhere else like dinner and a movie? that is nowhere near his property and all of this could have been avoided...if the daughter knew that her father didnt approve of her seeing him at his house then she should have had the brains to say 'hey lets go to your house'or hey lets go to the park or the movies somewhere so that we dont make my father angry.

sadiblue

People charged with tax evasion will serve more time than Bradley - how sad. When will we all understand A LIFE IS A LIFE, whether you personally know someone that has been taken so brutally or not, the bottom line remains the same: a heart stops beating, family and friends grieve beyond all comprehension, but lawyers still get paid and a criminal who more than likely doesn't comprehend or care about the consequences of his actions will sit behind bars for little to no time. We can keep asking "why didn't she do this?" or "why didn't they just go somewhere else?" - what does it matter? What was Barker hurting? He wasn't stalking her and he wasn't abusing her. They were just two kids and it happens everyday. The only difference is that Bradley didn't "like" Barker, and he took it upon himself to knowingly end a life that can never be brought back.

anguscat

hokiefan540, you are right of course. This did not happen in Rockingham as Donna's case did. I flew off with a comment before getting emotions in check. I am not judging anyone (re: comment by disillusioned above), and true, not being on the jury, one does not know what happened. But there are consistencies in the two cases which are still unfair in that both people had weapons and stated they would use them, both were done in the heat of the moment but still planned, etc. Something is definitely wrong with the system and it needs to be fixed. All the what if's won't change anything either unfortunately.

To Disillusioned - I hope your spouse is now able to open up and talk about the trial and the worries and concerns and I am sorry if she has been traumatized by this.

Schoolboard: If those 55 men took it out of schools in 1789, then someone needs to check on our mail delivery system.

Again, I am not condemning nor judging, just stating what a lot of people are probably feeling about this situation. And yes, what is done against someone will come back 10 times, so Mr. Bradley will get his due. In time.

hokiefan540

Justice was served. People may think that it is wrong that he is only getting 9 years, but the kid was warned by police and by a trespass notice..that means the kid was not welcomed in or at his house..yes it was wrong that he took his life but they should have used some kind of common sense.

Jean

Before you can Judge anyone, you must know the facts. 12 Jurors had to make a decision based on facts. Not what their heart said but straight facts. The whole situation is very very disturbing. There was no blackmail in the jury room, thats a ridiculous thought. If a person can't agree with everyone else then they should have stood up and been an adult and said I'm sorry but I can't do this, we have to come up with a second option. Each person in the jury room was told to do what they felt was right, based on facts. Just FACTS. I can assure you total strangers cried and are very ill over this case. Even if Mr. Bradley received 40 years, Brendon still wouldn't be here. Know the facts before you voice your opinion.

Jean

Thank you, I agree.

Jean

One Juror feels they were blackmailed. Trying to justify her part in agreeing with the outcome so she could sleep better. Know the facts.

Enough

Sarah was not allowed to leave the house.

Cathy C

I am no lawyer, but read a lot of true crime books, watch lots of Courtroom TV , Nancy Grace etc. And I'm kinda thinking that such a slanderous statement from 1 juror speaking for 10 more, and saying what she has....in my mind it seems much like a case I once saw which ended up being called a mistrial......but maybe I'm wrong. But I surely would not have wanted 1 woman to come out and say she was speaking for me too when she said they were blackmailed. I have alwqays associated that word with money, or bribes. I'm thinking Judge Hupp, who repeatedly gave them chances to NOT come to agreement with fellow jurors..and then polled them ONE BY ONE.....is probably NOT going to be too happy with this article...or woman.

chris77

Now that it comes to light that one juror bullied the others I wonder if Judge Hupp can set aside the verdict and order a new trial? I certainly hope so, because as it is this is a gross miscarriage of justice that needs to be corrected by any legal means possible.

Cathy C

Hi might have had to order a new trial for a hung jury as the commonwealth's Attorney would surely have insisted on it with a HUNG jury. I do not think he can make the Bradley family PAY for a new trial....this had to have been admitted to on VERDICT NIGHT. It's too late now. You do not get a chance to see people are mad at you and change your mind about your verdict and sentence, even I know that. They had MORE than one chance to complain of this supposed man, and they chose NOT to take it. It's too late to turn back now. Both sides presented their cases excellently, and the jury made their decision. As I said before, it is DONE. All I can see from my research on here is a mistrial that would set him free, or the original sentence being given Nov 18th. I am sure there will be a heated debate, and those who chose to undo all the work that all 12 had dobne, will undoubtedly be in trouble. The instructions were very, very clear. And those of us who were on the defense side should not have to sit again in all those hours both sides had to..but 1 side was paying for their case. It saddens me 1 person has tried to give a bad name to a jury who worked so hard to come up with a verdict. As I have from the start..I just continue to pray for all, and am relieved for the jury to not have to sit all those hours again debating this very sad case for ALL concerned.........and shame on the one or two who have created this article to be written.

justice for all

So you feel that two children made the wrong decision and the adult was justified in his actions? Bradley had many options available that night, he CHOSE to murder someone, there was no justification for that. He knew that Brendon Barker was in the attic with his daughter. He blocked the door, went and got a gun and flashlight, opened the door and pushed his daughter out of the way, hunted Brendon down, shined the flashlight on him and shot him in the forehead. Now tell me how the two kids were to blame! Life is about choices and when Bradley hunted him down he made the choice to murder Brendon. He has to live with the consequences of his actions, he also needs to apologize to Brendon's family and his own daughter for his actions, and accept responsibility for murder. I have to believe that there is a special place in hell for people like Jody Bradley, people who murder unarmed people without remorse. Bradley testified that he shot an intruder because he was protecting his family--hmmm let's think about that one--"his family--Sarah" was in the attic! How concerned was he about her when he blocked her in the attic also, and then shot her boyfriend in front of her. It's easy to say these teens should've made better decisions on being at Sarah's house--but it was her house too. And how many of us, when we were their age, made choices that we shouldn't have made because we were in love? Only one person is to blame for the murder of Brendon Barker and that is Jody Bradley. Nothing can change that fact!!

tim hall

it can be declared a mistrial ,when it comes out this man knows the punk or the family,he shouldnt have been on the jury at all. any decent human being can tell its a tainted jury..you can bet this will be looked in to further than this debate on line,mark my word

schoolboard

A juror can be removed during deliberations for misconduct, but you cannot change things after the trial, unless to let the man go free PERMANENTLY. The U.S. Constitution does not allow for a man to be convicted and sentenced for the same crime twice, because of double jeopardy. This is over.

P.S. to Anguscat: In the 1860s, the Constitution was also changed to give blacks equal protection under the law. Just because it took the "mail delivery system" a long time to get that one correct with Brown v. Board of Education, does not mean it is not the law of our land. If you want the official sanctioning of one religion in our schools or anyplace else by our government, you are perfectly free to call for a constitutional amendment to fix things to your liking.

Cathy C

Speaking from a friend of the Bradley's..I cam assure you theyknew no one. In this small town we may know people by faces..like when you work in 7/11 and it seems EVERYONE knows you..but only by name and look. It is still stunning to kme that any juror would speak in such a manner after such a serious case...and while I am no lawyer...I am sure that both lawyers in this case know exactly what can happen now. I will wait to see the outcome, but I know Jody cannot be tried again, or his family have to pay for another trial..period. Once was hard enough for all involved, and this article and the word blackmail sound really, really bad...I don't hear 10 other jurors affirming it either. It is done everyone..it is done.

Cathy C

Enough...my heart makes me wonder if we know each other. And while Sarah was not allowed out...Brendon was not allowed in. That is the bottom line in all of what happened in the end. Had both tenns obeyed their parents and trespass notice, Brendon would still be here. AS much as that might hurt...it's the truth.

justice for all

Yes, these two teens did not obey their parents but what a fine example Jody Bradley set! He didn't obey the law--murder is not allowed by law. You can spin it anyway you want but Jody Bradley committed murder! Brendon Barker violated a no trepassing notice, he should not have had to lose his life for that! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see who's at fault.

just_peachy

did anyone look at the article 2 below this one.. a man will serve 14 yrs for sexual battery.. jody only got 12 for murder..how does that seem right. not that im sayin either crime was ok.. they both should rot..

Terry

It really doesnt matter who is to blame. The fact is Brendon was a child. Jody is an adult. He committed murder. For all of you cold hearted people out there who think it is even remotely Brendons fault I feel sorry for you. All children make mistakes. We do not own our children. I do not know very many young boys who are in love that would not have done the same thing.We can cast blame at Brendon or his parents or Sarah or the jury but the fact is Jody took Brendons life. He murdered a child. Someones son, someones brother, someones friend. He knew exacally what he was doing. It is very sad that he will be getting out of jail and he will be able to continue his life while Brendon doesnt get the chance. I am sure he would not have like any boy Sarah would have dated. The murder was pointless...I just wish the community would stop pointing fingers at one another and have compassion for Brendons family. Put yourself in thier shoes. Imagine how they feel. Wait...none of us can even pretend that we know how they feel. Nothing really matters now except the fact is Jody murdered Brendon. Those are the facts. I am just glad that I believe in a God that is holding him tightly and taking care of him for his mother.

Kelly77

Brendon Barker was my cousin and I am outraged that this injustice happened. Not only did Janeen Johannson and Gene Barker lose a son, they now have to suffere the injustice of their son's murderer going free after nine years! The Judge and Jury should be ashamed of themselves; the Jury for the sentencing reccomendation and the judge for going along with that reccomendation instead of overruling it and granting a harsher judgment. It is quite transparent that justice was not served for Brendon's murder. Their only son killed at sixteen. I remember the cute kid on the beach loving the sun, beach and ocean. A sweet kid who didn't choose to leave this world but was taken from it before he entered the prime of his life. I hope JLB burns in hell.

And by the way, regardless of double jepordy, the sentencing CAN BE APPEALED. The Prosecutor's office can APPEAL this sentencing and ask for a new one. Should there be any justice in this world, this will be the first thing the Prosecutor works on this week. APPEAL! APPEAL! He deserves LIFE IN PRISON.

tim hall

yeah as sad as it is to know , he cant be tried again thats fact on this earth in that court .but he still will answer to a higher court one day and thats fact. life in prison will be hard on him and he really deserves that, to fight for basic space and air to breath.i shouldnt feel the way i do i suppose but ,it really makes sick that this was the outcome of such a senseless crime.this boy didnt deserve this i know in my heart this man killed this boy in cold blood .now the jury has spoken and yes thats a done deal .but no its not a done deal,he will answer to another court one day as we all will .but there is really a such thing as prison justice and he falls right in the group that has the spot light on them and i hope the coward can take whats in store for him ,instead of hiding from it in a hole ,either way he has to do 10 years,but we aint promised tomorrow ,we are only a heart beat from judgement all of us .my prayers are with the boys family and girl friend ,i guess im suppose to pray for all .i cant, i wish hard time on the murderer

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