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Death Penalty Off the Table for William Roy Brissette in 2016 VA Slayings of Henry J. Brissette III and Martha B. Brissette
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Thread: Death Penalty Off the Table for William Roy Brissette in 2016 VA Slayings of Henry J. Brissette III and Martha B. Brissette

  1. #1
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Death Penalty Off the Table for William Roy Brissette in 2016 VA Slayings of Henry J. Brissette III and Martha B. Brissette






    Prosecutor to seek death penalty for Henrico man accused of killing parents

    HENRICO, Va. (AP) – The Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney says she intends to seek the death penalty for a man accused of fatally shooting his parents.

    Shannon Taylor told a Circuit Court judge on Wednesday that the “vileness” of 22-year-old William Roy Brissette’s alleged crimes prompted her to seek the death penalty.

    Brissette’s parents, 59-year-old Henry J. Brissette III and 56-year-old Martha B. Brissette, were found dead on March 27 in the home they shared with their son.

    Brissette is charged with two counts of capital murder. One of his lawyers, Doug Ramseur, says he was disappointed with the decision and that capital defense cases require intensive evaluations of the defendant’s background and mental health, and are expensive.

    Brissette’s trial is scheduled for June.

    http://wric.com/2016/09/14/prosecuto...lling-parents/

  2. #2
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    Judge orders mental evaluation for Henrico man accused of killing his parents on Easter

    A judge on Friday ordered a mental evaluation to ensure that a Henrico County man charged with killing his parents last Easter is fit to stand trial.

    Henrico Circuit Court Judge James Stephen Yoffy on Friday granted a defense motion for an evaluation of William Brissette. The judge ordered it to be finished by April 3 so attorneys could examine it.

    Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon L. Taylor supported the motion for the mental examination.

    The report, which will be done by a psychologist at the University of Virginia, will gauge whether Brissette is competent enough to understand the trial process and can help the attorneys defending him.

    “There is concern here that the defense has raised that Mr. Brissette’s mental illness has made him incapable of assisting in his defense,” Douglas A. Ramseur, Brissette’s attorney, said after Friday’s court hearing.

    Ramseur declined to specify what mental illness Brissette is suffering from.

    Brissett, 23, is facing charges of capital murder in the case. He is accused of fatally shooting his parents, Henry J. Brissette III and Martha B. Brissette, on Easter Sunday last March. The punishment for that is life in prison or death.

    Taylor has said that she intends to seek the death penalty, saying last September that her decision is based on the “vileness” of the crime and the likelihood of “future dangerousness.”

    But the National Alliance of Mental Illness of Central Virginia wrote a letter to Taylor on Feb. 7 saying it opposes the death penalty in the Brissette case. Kathy Harkey, the group’s executive director, wrote that she personally knew Brissette’s biological grandmother,the late Miriam Blevins, who served on the group’s board of directors.

    “Based on my relationship with the late Mrs. Blevins, and my knowledge of this cruel disease from a professional and family member perspective, I feel confident that the late Miriam Blevins and her daughter, the late Martha Brissette, would find a death sentence to be a cruel and unusual punishment for their loved one William Brissette,” Harkey wrote. “They would not want William to suffer additional psychological torture and death. They would want him to live and receive proper medical care for his treatable medical condition.”

    Friday’s motion threw a kink into the court schedule. The case had been set for a two-week trial in June, but that has been withdrawn and a new trial date hasn’t been rescheduled.

    The next court hearing is on April 6 to discuss the results of the mental evaluation.

    http://www.richmond.com/news/local/c...f9e1bf1d7.html
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  3. #3
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    Man accused of killing parents not competent for trial

    HENRICO, Va. (AP) -- A man charged with fatally shooting his parents last year has been found incompetent to stand trial.

    The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that a judge in Henrico County Thursday accepted a psychological evaluation that 23-year-old William Roy Brissette suffers from schizoaffective disorder.

    Brissette is charged with two counts of capital murder in the deaths of 59-year-old Henry J. Brissette III and 56-year-old Martha B. Brissette. They were found dead in their home in March 2016.

    Brissette's trial had been scheduled for June. The Henrico County Commonwealth's Attorney said last year she intended to seek the death penalty.

    Judge James Yoffy ordered that Brissette be sent to Central State Hospital for treatment in hopes of returning him to competency.

    http://wset.com/news/local/man-accus...tent-for-trial
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    Prosecutors seek order that Henrico man accused of killing parents has to take anti-psychotic medication

    By SEAN GORMAN
    The Richmond Times-Dispatch

    A psychiatrist at a state mental hospital asked a judge on Tuesday to allow him to administer anti-psychotic drugs to a Henrico County man accused of killing his parents last year.

    William Roy Brissette, 23, laughed to himself and lounged in his chair with his arms folded behind his head during a court appearance before Henrico Circuit Court Judge James Stephen Yoffy.

    Tuesday’s hearing focused on what treatment Brissette should receive before standing trial on capital murder charges in the shooting deaths of his mother, Martha B. Brissette, 56, and his father, Henry J. Brissette III, 59, on March 27, 2016.

    Daniel Sheneman, assistant medical director at Central State Hospital in Petersburg, said Brissette suffers from schizophrenia, a psychosis that includes hallucinations and delusions.

    “We highly suspect he is hearing voices, although he denies it,” Sheneman said.

    Yoffy ordered last month that Brissette be taken to Central State after a mental evaluation by a University of Virginia psychiatrist found the defendant is not competent to stand trial. The judge ordered the facility to take steps to bring the defendant’s mental state to a level where the proceedings could continue.

    Prosecutors have filed a motion to order Brissette to take medication so that he can be tried on the charges against him. Shannon Taylor, the Henrico commonwealth’s attorney, said during Tuesday’s hearing that she had “grave concerns” about the delay in getting Brissette to take medications.

    “This defendant needs to be treated ASAP,” Taylor said.

    Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Brissette, citing the “vileness” of crimes where they said each victim was shot multiple times. Advocates for people with mental illnesses have urged prosecutors to reconsider that position, saying it would amount to cruel and unusual punishment for Brissette.

    Under cross-examination from Douglas Ramseur, Brissette’s attorney, Sheneman said Brissette has complied with staff at the mental hospital and has not shown any signs of aggression or violence in the weeks since being brought to the facility.

    Sheneman also said under questioning that he does not think that Brissette is faking having schizophrenia.

    The Central State psychiatrist explained that medication is needed to treat Brissette, saying schizophrenia is caused by a medical imbalance that has to be treated with anti-psychotic drugs.

    “No amount of talk therapy is going to fix that,” Sheneman said of treating schizophrenia.

    Sheneman said he was fairly confident that Brissette would respond to treatment, adding that the longer a psychosis is untreated, the more enduring its symptoms become.

    Sheneman’s diagnosis of the particular mental illness affecting the defendant is somewhat different from that made in an April 3 mental evaluation that found the defendant was incompetent and could not stand trial. That April evaluation found Brissette suffers from schizoaffective disorder, Ramseur said. That illness combines elements of schizophrenia with other mental illnesses, such as depression.

    Yoffy set a May 26 hearing where he’s expected to rule whether the defendant has to take medication.

    The judge also granted a motion by Brissette’s attorneys, allowing them to hire a psychiatrist to assist his attorneys in reviewing Central State’s proposed treatment for the defendant. Yoffy also appointed an attorney outside of the defense team to represent Brissette’s medical interests in the case.

    http://www.richmond.com/news/local/c...793639733.html

  5. #5
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    Henrico man facing death penalty for fatal shootings of his parents still not competent to stand trial

    By Sean Gorman
    Richmond Times-Dispatch

    A Henrico man charged with murdering his parents has not yet been found fit to stand trial.

    Henrico Circuit Court Judge James Stephen Yoffy said at a Wednesday hearing that officials at Central State Hospital in Petersburg informed the court in a letter that William Roy Brissette, 24, remains incompetent but that the mental hospital believes further treatment can bring the defendant back to the point where court proceedings in the capital murder case can continue.

    Brissette, who is facing the death penalty, has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, a psychosis that includes hallucinations and delusions.

    In April, the defendant was found to be incompetent, meaning he does not have the ability to fully understand the proceedings or effectively help his attorneys with his own defense.

    Daniel Sheneman, the assistant medical director at Central State, said at a May hearing that staff at the hospital suspected Brissette had been hearing voices although Sheneman said the defendant denied that was the case. Sheneman also said that the longer the defendant's psychosis went untreated, the more enduring his mental illness would become.

    At a follow-up hearing a couple weeks later, Yoffy ordered staff at the mental hospital to begin administering anti-psychotic medication to Brissette to treat his mental illness so he can be made competent and the case can proceed. The staff began the involuntary administration of the drugs to the defendant on May 30.

    At Wednesday's hearing, the judge ordered that treatment to continue for another six months.

    Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Brissette on capital murder charges in connection with the deaths of his mother, Martha B. Brissette, 56, and his father, Henry J. Brissette III, 59, on March 27, 2016.

    Brissette's defense attorneys have objected to him being medicated, arguing in court papers that prosecutors want to restore his competency so they can ultimately ask a jury to sentence him to death.

    Brissette's legal counsel has appealed Yoffy's original medication order to the Supreme Court of Virginia, asking that the judge's ruling be thrown out. Brissette's defense team contends the circuit court didn't follow proper procedures when ordering the involuntary administration of drugs. Prosecutors, in their own response to the state Supreme Court, rejected those arguments. The appeal is pending.

    http://www.richmond.com/news/local/c...45a315c4b.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
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  6. #6
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Henrico man charged in Easter 2016 slayings of his parents no longer faces death penalty

    By SEAN GORMAN
    Richmond Times-Dispatch

    Prosecutors are no longer seeking the death penalty against a Henrico County man charged with murdering his parents on Easter Sunday last year.

    Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor said her office filed a formal notice with the Henrico Circuit Court on Thursday informing the court that it was withdrawing the death penalty as a potential punishment in the capital murder case against William Roy Brissette, 24.

    “Based on the information that has been provided to date, we felt it was the appropriate action to take at this time,” Taylor said.

    Taylor declined to be more specific about why prosecutors decided to withdraw the death penalty as an option.

    Taylor had initially said in September 2016 that prosecutors would seek to execute Brissette, who is charged in the March 27, 2016, slayings of his parents, Martha B. Brissette, 56, and Henry J. Brissette III, 59.

    The defendant has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, a psychosis that includes hallucinations and delusions. Daniel Sheneman, the assistant medical director at Central State Hospital in Petersburg, said at a May court hearing that staff at the hospital suspected Brissette had been hearing voices; Sheneman said the defendant denied that was the case.

    Doug Ramseur, Brissette’s defense attorney, said he was pleased with the prosecution’s decision to no longer seek the death penalty, adding that it was not an appropriate punishment, particularly given the defendant’s “severe mental illness.”

    Brissette was found to be incompetent in April, meaning he lacks the capacity to fully understand the court proceedings and assist his attorneys in his own defense. In a court hearing Wednesday, Henrico Circuit Judge James Stephen Yoffy said officials at Central State Hospital told the court in a letter that Brissette remains incompetent but that the mental hospital believes further treatment can bring the defendant back to the point where court proceedings can continue.

    In May, the judge had ordered staff at the mental hospital to begin administering anti-psychotic medication to Brissette to treat his mental illness so he could be made competent and the case could proceed. The staff began the involuntary administration of the drugs to the defendant on May 30; this week, the judge ordered that treatment to continue for six more months.

    Brissette’s legal counsel appealed Yoffy’s original medication order to the Supreme Court of Virginia, asking that the judge’s ruling be thrown out. Brissette’s defense team contends that the Circuit Court did not follow proper procedures when ordering the involuntary administration of drugs.

    Prosecutors, in their own response to the state Supreme Court, rejected those arguments. The Supreme Court notified the parties Thursday that it was sending the case to the state Court of Appeals for further review.

    http://www.richmond.com/news/local/c...45a315c4b.html

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