Two sudden deaths in the Bracknell clan forever shattered the family in May 2013. But while one was deemed to be of natural causes, the other one was a homicide. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Blood Relatives: Deadtime Stories’ chronicles how Thomas Bracknell was viciously murdered in what the killers believed to be vigilante justice. So, if you’re curious to find out more about this case, we’ve got you covered.
How Did Thomas Bracknell Die?
Thomas Bracknell was a 54-year-old living with his mother, Mary Anne, in the family home in Montgomery, Alabama. He was close to his mother, and they were often visited by his three nephews, who helped around with odd jobs around the house. A fourth nephew, Mitchell Bracknell, lived at the same home with them. But the family’s peaceful time together came to a screeching and violent end.
On May 14, 2013, the authorities performed a welfare check at the Bracknell house based on a tip regarding a possible altercation. While nobody answered the door, the officer walked to the shed that was at the back. Inside, he found Thomas’ dead body wrapped in bed sheets. He was severely beaten, with multiple fractures and contusions all over his body. Additionally, Thomas had several cuts on his throat and blunt force trauma on his head.
Who Killed Thomas Bracknell?
The Bracknells had already been dealing with a death by then; Mary Anne died on May 12, 2013, with the authorities ruling her death a natural one. Suddenly, her son’s death kicked the investigation into overdrive. According to the show, Samuel, one of the nephews, found Mary in her bed and noticed a note on the side. It was from Tommy, and it said that he wanted the car and the money now that Mary was dead. As a result, Samuel and the other nephews, Mitchell, Brandon, and William Kyle Richards, felt that their uncle was responsible for Mary’s death.
The authorities caught a break when William’s stepsister told the police that she had heard Mitchell, Brandon, and William discuss getting rid of Tommy. As a result, the police set out to track them down. When William, then 24, was arrested, he claimed to have nothing to do with the murder. As per the show, William told the police that he was waiting in the car to take Mitchell and Brandon somewhere on May 13, 2013, but when they came out, he saw them with blood on their clothes.
Mitchell, then 31, was eventually arrested and admitted to the attack. According to the show, Mitchell and Brandon, then 18, went up to Thomas’ room when he was sleeping and attacked him with a baseball bat and a serrated knife. They continued to beat him as he tried to escape. While in the living room, Mitchell dropped a TV on Thomas while he was unconscious from the beating. After trying to clean up the blood, they left the body in the shed before heading out with William.
Where Are Mitchell and Brandon Bracknell Today?
While Brandon initially denied having anything to do with the crime, he later admitted his involvement. Brandon’s lawyer said his client thought it would only be a beating. The authorities learned about the body after the guys began asking around for a car to move the body; one of those people contacted the police. In September 2014, Mitchell pled guilty to the murder and was later sentenced to serve 41 years and eight months in prison.
Brandon pled guilty to Thomas’ murder in October 2015 and was soon sentenced to serve 19 years and six months behind bars. As for William, he went to trial and was found not guilty by a jury. The defense argued that the witnesses who claimed that he confessed were not reliable. Prison records indicate that Mitchell remains incarcerated at Elmore Correctional Facility in Alabama. He will be eligible for parole in 2028. As for Brandon, it seems that he has since been released from prison and has understandably maintained a low profile. He currently lives in Montgomery.
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