Man found guilty of all charges in deadly 2017 Pasquotank Co. prison attack

Posted at 11:35 AM, Oct 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-21 17:34:04-04

PASQUOTANK Co., N.C. - Mikel Brady, one of four prisoners charged in the deadly Pasquotank County failed prison break in 2017, was found guilty Monday of all charges, including four counts of first-degree murder.

After only 35 minutes, 12 jurors returned to the courtroom, turning over 14 guilty charges against Brady. He now awaits sentencing for charges of first-degree murder, attempted prison escape, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, intent to kill and setting fire to the prison.

The four counts of murder are for the deaths of corrections officers Justin Smith, Veronica Darden, Wendy Shannon and Gregory Howe. Brady sat stone-faced as the verdict was read.

The sentencing phase has started and could take more than a week. The trooper Brady dried to murder in Durham, North Carolina, in 2013 is on the stand.

Mikel Brady

During closing arguments, district attorney Andrew Womble pointed to Brady with a bloody hammer used in the bludgeoning and stabbing deaths. Womble said the attempted escape and attack was planned, plotted and prepared for three months, showing the jury rings of evidence, including admission of guilty.

While three other inmates are charged in the murders, Womble stressed Brady was the ringleader, gathering the weapons and "finishing off" those who got in his way.

Defense Attorney Jack Warmack disagreed, imploring the jury to not to rush to judgement that his client was responsible for all four murders.

In court on Wednesday, October 16, the jury heard testimony on what Brady said to investigators shortly after being recaptured.

One of the biggest pieces of evidence presented by North Carolina state attorneys was interviews between SBI agent Paul Munson and Brady just minutes after the attack that killed two correctional officers.

It was described in court that Brady was shirtless as he talked to Munson, saying, "I had nothing to lose. Escaping was always on my mind.”

Brady said he and three others who lived in the same prison dorm had been plotting the attack for months, choosing that day because Thursdays are trash day and no one watches over the loading dock.

“I had access to the warehouse. I looked at all the materials in it,” said Brady, giving specifics to how the attack and escape were coordinated. “I know what I did was wrong. I deserve whatever comes; it hurt me more than you know.”

Brady said he wanted to escape because "he felt prisoners were treated unfairly, and the race card was always thrown.”  He pitched the idea and assigned roles to three other men involved.

At one point in the interview, the agent wiped his tears when he detailed how he knows what he did was wrong.

Smith, who died in the escape, had his radio stolen by the prisoners because Brady said he observed that Smith was not a good communicator, attacking him to gain control of his radio.

As for Darden, the other correction officer who was killed, Brady told investigators "she was a mother figure to me. It was a risk; she never treated me wrong."