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Brandon Wells Sentenced to Life with No Parole in Murder of Brierlie Walters

Tuesday, September 19, 2023 @ 04:09 PM

Posted by Jacob Deemer

image - 2023-09-19T160150.463FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) — President Judge Marie T. Veon sentenced Brandon Wells to life in prison on Tuesday, September 19, with no chance of parole in the murder of his girlfriend, Brierlie Walters.

In a five-day trial that ended on Monday, August 14, a jury found Wells guilty of a number of charges, including first-degree murder and endangering the welfare of children, in the death of Walters in Oil City.

According to court documents, an additional four to 11 years in prison will run consecutively to the life sentence.

Wells will receive credit for 563 days served.

During the trial, Venango County District Attorney Shawn White laid out a diabolical murder plan that stemmed from Wells wanting to “get rid of” is then 39-year-old girlfriend, Walters.

Oil City Police Officer Tom Schwab testified that he was the first officer on-scene on March 5, the day of Walters’ murder. He testified that as he approached the house, he saw a man standing in the open doorway who stated, “Officer, I need to tell you something. Officer, it’s going to look concerning. She’s in a barrel.”

Officer Schwab identified that man as the defendant and told the jury Wells stated that he had to put her in the barrel so the children wouldn’t see her. He then said that Wells told him that he pulled Walters off the bed and that she fell into the barrel “like an accordion.”

Schwab stated that he went upstairs and found a blue 55-gallon barrel in a bedroom with a bath or beach-style towel over the open top. He cautiously lifted the towel and saw the victim.

Public Defender Jeffrey Misko’s argument centered mostly on the credibility of the Commonwealth’s main witness, Nector Vasquez.

During the trial, Vasquez testified that Brandon Wells repeatedly told him that he wanted to “get rid of” Walters, and that on the day of her death, Wells came over to his home and said “Brie’s done” before he asked Vasquez to help him dig a big hole.

Misko continued his dismantling of the Commonwealth’s case, arguing that Dr. Kari Midthun had only testified to what was in Walters’ system, not that anyone other than Walters had delivered it into her body. He stated that Walters had previously been to the hospital for a gastrointestinal event and that it was possible Walters died of heart arrhythmia due to acid reflux.

Misko told the jury that County Coroner Christina Rugh had elected to not use the “best method” for determining time of death for her own personal reasons. Thus, he concluded, the time of death may have been different than the official conclusion of Ms. Rugh.

He continued his argument stating that Dr. Eric Vey, the pathologist who performed the autopsy on Walters, couldn’t say with absolute medical certainty that Walters died of combined drug toxicity. He argued that by using the blood from Walters’ pericardial sac rather than blood from her extremities, the results of the toxicology were skewed high.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I submit to you that the Commonwealth has no idea what caused the death of Brierlie Walters,” said Misko during the trial.

Misko’s argument was that because the cause of Walters’ death may have been heart arrhythmia, there was reasonable doubt. Thus, the jury should return a verdict of not guilty.

At the conclusion of the trial, Wells was found guilty on the following charges:

  • Murder Of The First Degree, H1
  • Drug Delivery Resulting In Death, Felony 1
  • Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, Misdemeanor 1
  • Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense (child less than 6 years of age), Felony 3 (two counts)
  • Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession With Intent to Manufacture or Deliver (marijuana), Felony
  • Criminal Attempt – Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession With Intent to Manufacture or Deliver (psilocybin mushrooms), Felony
  • Abuse Of Corpse, Misdemeanor 2
  • Intentionally Possessing a Controlled by a Person not Registered, Misdemeanor
  • Use/Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, Misdemeanor

Read more about the trial below:

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