A jury has found a man guilty of trying to kill a young mother and leaving her 5-year-old daughter to die along an alligator-infested highway
Harrel Franklin Braddy was found guilty on seven counts including first-degree murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, burglary and escape. The jury deliberated two hours before reaching the verdict. He faces the death penalty.
Braddy was a convicted felon released early from prison when he befriended Shandelle Maycock and her daughter. Maycock testified Braddy came to her home in November 1998 and grew enraged when she asked him to leave. He choked Maycock until she was unconscious and then forced her and Quatisha into his car.
At one point, Maycock gained consciousness, grabbed the child and jumped out of the moving vehicle. Braddy stopped, choked Maycock again and put her in the trunk. Maycock never saw her daughter again.
Prosecutors said Braddy then drove to Alligator Alley where he dropped Quatisha in the water. She was alive when alligators bit her on the head and stomach, a medical examiner said.
Authorities found the girl's body two days later floating face up in the alligator infested waters, her left arm missing and her skull crushed, prosecutors said.
Maycock woke up bleeding and disoriented, in a cane field miles from her Miami-Dade County home. The single mother said she had met Braddy through a friend about four months before the crimes.
Braddy served 13 years of a 30-year prison sentence for attempted murder before being released early on "gain time," which reduces sentences for good behavior.
This trial had been delayed for nearly nine years because Braddy has fired several attorneys and even represented himself at one point.
Assistant State Attorney Abbe Rifkin said evidence in the case was overwhelming,
"The state is thrilled with this verdict - thrilled that the jury saw the truth as quickly as they did," Rifkin said.
Braddy's attorney G.P. Della Fera declined to comment.
Braddy's mother cried softly as the verdict was read. A dozen law enforcement officers stood guard aware that Braddy has escaped from the courthouse before. He fled after trying to strangle a Miami-Dade corrections officer in 1984.
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