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Framed in Virginia-Murdered in Virginia
The ABC Network had a case last night on 20/20 about a man that was almost convicted of a crime he did not commit. It was a story that could have happened to anyone anywhere. It was a compelling story about how justice goes wrong when one person decides to take one’s fate into their own hands. It the case last night, March 5, 2010, it was a Medical Examiner that had lied for over thirty years to get people convicted. No telling how many innocent people this man sent to prison or worse.
I, too, have a story that parallels that story except this innocent person was executed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. And, it only took them five years to do it. This was a conspiracy of a lot of people, judge, prosecutor, police and defense lawyers. It seems implausible, maybe impossible to you but it happened and I have the proof it happened. It is undeniable proof because it came from the mouths of the people that committed this horrible crime.
In Roanoke County Virginia in nineteen ninety-seven Earl Bramblett was put on trial for his life. It was a crime that happened in nineteen ninety-four. Four people were found dead, murdered, in a house that had been set on fire. The man, husband and father, Blain Hodges was discovered in bed upstairs in the house and he had been shot once in the head. His two daughters were found in another bedroom and both had been shot twice each in their heads. The wife and mother was found downstairs on a couch and she had been strangled and her body burned beyond recognition. The fire did little structural damage to the house because all the windows and doors had been shut and the fire was starved from lack of oxygen.
The case was tried in the county seat of Salem, Virginia and heard by Judge Roy Willett. The Commonwealth Attorney of Roanoke County was F.W. (Skip) Burkart and his assistant Randy Leach. Two defense lawyers, appointed by Willett, were Mac Doubles and Terry Grimes.
Let’s start with the defense lawyers. These were two of the most inexperienced lawyers in the Roanoke Valley. Grimes was especially ineffective and known for losing cases that should have been easily won. Doubles, on the other hand, didn’t have enough experience to have a reputation yet. During the trial it was evident these two attorneys were intimidated by the gravity of the case and were ill prepared. They had wasted a year, while Bramblett was in the county jail, supposedly preparing for this trial. It was evident they were incompetent, unprepared and frightened.
The Commonwealth Attorney Burkart had prepared for the trial and had his “facts” laid out for the trial. These facts were in actuality all lies. The only thing that was a fact that he mentioned was the actual crime and the victims. Everything else was made of whole cloth, lies, and easily proven so if Bramblett had had a real defense. He and Randy Leach had prepped a jail house snitch to perjure himself by saying he had made notes of something Bramblett told him while in jail. That, too, was a lie. Bramblett had not told him anything he testified to in court. Opening and closing were filled with lies had anyone been listening closely.
Roy Willett, the judge in the case, sat and oversaw this one sided miscarriage of justice and intimidated the inexperienced lawyers while giving Burkart everything he brought up as evidence. A tape made supposed to show the jury how a white truck turned in a “pinkish” red truck under lights Burkart knew was incorrect. Willett was supposed to see the trial was fair, but he made sure it wouldn’t be from the start by appointing these inept lawyers to represent Bramblett. Then he sat and listened while it was basically a trial from the prosecution side only. Nothing of substance was objected to.
The lead investigator, State Police Investigator Barry Keesee, testified to conversations he had with Bramblett where no one but he heard. He lied by omission by failing to tell the court he had visited Bramblett’s place of employment the morning of the crime, then testified he thought it was a murder/suicide until that afternoon. He couldn’t mention the visit because it would have blown the lie about the murder/suicide. His ‘good ol’ boy” attitude and down-home manner made the lies compatible for the jury.
So, Bramblett was found guilty, something that surprised no one, and was given the death penalty. Then the same incompetent Grimes “argued” his case before the Supreme Court of Virginia and, as usual, was denied a new (real) trial. His habeas attorney was Will Lindsey, whom most believed to be an effective lawyer, but for some reason, he joined the cabal and threw Bramblett to the wolves, using the same lies presented in the trial. Lindsey had all the new evidence but chose to sweep it under the rug. Bramblett was executed in just over five years from his trial. This kind of fast track executions are reserved for the Oklahoma City bomber and the Washington, DC sniper.
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