Mikel Brady found guilty of murder and other felony charges
Published 9:40 am Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Mikel Edward Brady II was found guilty Monday, October 21 on all 14 felony charges from an October 12, 2017 escape attempt at Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City.
It was the deadliest escape attempt in North Carolina history.
Taking only 35 minutes to reach a unanimous decision, the Dare County Superior Court jury found Brady guilty of four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of four prison employees: sewing plant manager Veronica Darden, maintenance worker Geoffrey Howe and correctional officers Justin Smith and Wendy Shannon, as well as 10 other felony offenses including attempted escape, setting fire to a public building and various assault charges.
A fifteenth charge, inciting a riot, was dismissed earlier in the case.
During his closing arguments, District Attorney Andrew Womble said he was struggling to come up with the words needed to arm the jury what they needed in this case to find justice for the families of the four victims.
Explaining that Brady had planned the escape attempt for months in concert with fellow inmates Wisezah Buckman, Seth Frazier and Jonathan Monk, Womble then reviewed some of the evidence presented earlier in the case with photos, video camera images and a hammer used on one or more of the victims.
Emphasizing the violence of those attacks, Womble recalled the testimony of witness Dwayne Miller that Brady had hit George Midgett with a hammer like he was trying to break a cinder-block.
Following the jury’s decision, the defense asked for the jury be polled individually on their verdict.
Judge Jerry Tillett then went over each of the 14 charges with each of the 12 jurors, confirming that each guilty was their verdict and that they still agreed with it.
The trial has moved to a sentencing phase in which the jury will decide on life in prison without parole or the death penalty for Brady.
Three other participants in the 2017 prison break attempt, Buckman, Frazier and Monk, are scheduled for trial after the first of the year.