Jury recommends death penalty for inmate’s involvement in deadly Pasquotank Co. prison attack

Posted at 2:09 PM, Oct 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-28 19:28:23-04

DARE Co., N.C. - A jury recommended the death penalty on Wednesday for Mikel Brady, one of four prisoners charged in the deadly Pasquotank County failed prison break in 2017.

He was found guilty on October 21 on charges including four counts of first-degree murder, attempted prison escape, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, intent to kill and setting fire to the prison.

Mikel Brady

The four counts of murder are for the deaths of corrections officers Justin SmithVeronica DardenWendy Shannon and Geoffery Howe.

Monday, Brady walked into a Dare County courtroom, unknowing of his fate - life in prison or sentenced to death.

"The wreckage and carnage that Mikel Brady set into motion roughly two years ago and brought us together for the last three weeks is almost over," District Attorney Andrew Womble told the jury.

Speaking to the 12 men and women for a half hour Monday morning, Womble implore the jury to sentence Brady to death for the atrocious, heinous and cruel deaths of four prison employees.

"Veronica Darden, Justin Smith, Wendy Shannon and Geoffery Howe - they were not mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. They were obstacles to Brady on his path to freedom," said Womble.

Womble said Brady is a malicious monster, even quoting Brady's own testimony on the stand last week.

"He even told you. He said, 'I saw that they were having trouble with Justin Smith, so I went in and finished him off,'" said Womble.

Womble stressed if Brady were to live out a life in prison, it would be "open season on correction officers."

"You don't like the food they are serving them, kill em'. You are already serving life, and if the lights are too bright, kill somebody," said Womble.

Thomas Manning, Brady's defense attorney, spoke for more than 45 minutes about his client's dysfunctional childhood that led to bad decision making.

"He is damaged goods, and that should be taken into account," said Manning.

Manning said Brady was born to a teenage mother and an abusive father. Manning said Brady was physically abused, mentally ill and not properly medicated. Brady also was in a prison that was not secure enough, according to Manning.

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.

He will be taken to Raleigh Central Prison Monday afternoon.

Click here for our full coverage on the deadly 2017 Pasquotank Correctional Institution attack.