Defense continues its case in Brandon Bradley murder trial

Bradley accused of gunning down Brevard Deputy Barbara Pill

Brandon Bradley ws sentenced to death for the shooting death of Brevard County Deputy Barbara Pill.
Brandon Bradley ws sentenced to death for the shooting death of Brevard County Deputy Barbara Pill.

VIERA, Fla. – The defense representing Brandon Bradley, who's on trial for murder in the slaying of Brevard County sheriff's Deputy Barbara Pill, continued to present its case on Friday.

The jury, however, was dismissed for the day around 11 a.m. after the defense interviewed a toxicologist. 

Testimony will resume at 9 a.m. Monday, and it's possible closing arguments could begin as early as Tuesday.

The toxicologist, Dr. Susan Skolly, said marijuana can influence risk-taking behavior, prompting an objection from the state and a sidebar conference with the judge.

Skolly later said she twice interviewed Bradley and watched video of his interview with police investigators.  She said Bradley started smoking pot at the age of 12 and believes he's addicted to the drug.  Skolly added that she believes Bradley was smoking about 10 blunts per day and taking Xanax leading up to the shooting.

Bradley, 24, is accused of shooting and killing Pill during a traffic stop in March 2012

On Thursday, the state closed its case in chief against Bradley with evidence of his finger on the trigger of the murder weapon. Their last witness was an FDLE analyst who said she found DNA that matched Bradley's on the grips and trigger of the alleged murder weapon, a .40-caliber Glock 27, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.

Earlier in the day, the state called a woman to testify who said she saw Brandon Bradley with the gun in the months before the shooting.

Amanda Ozburn confirmed that in the past that she heard Bradley say: "If I ever get pulled over they're going to have to hold court in the streets because I'm going out like a soldier."

But Ozburn said she couldn't recall hearing that remark. She said she did cocaine the morning she gave that statement. She said her statement wasn't credible.

After the state rested, the defense made a motion for acquittal on two of Bradley's four charges. They argued the two witnesses who testified that the shooting was premeditated aren't reliable. The judge denied their motion. ?

The state and defense argued about an effort by the defense to bring in comments Bradley's co-defendant, Andria Kerchner, made to the media the day of the shooting in which she disparaged police. Judge Morgan Reinman ordered DVDs of Kerchner's testimony to review.

The defense has previously elicited testimony about Bradley's drugged state at the time of the shooting. They started their case Thursday afternoon with witnesses who spoke about tests done on Bradley's blood. Linda Sullivan, a toxicology supervisor at a Wuesthoff laboratory, said there was Xanax and marijuana in Bradley's blood. Additionally, experts found hydrocodone and cocaine in his urine. Drugs are filtered out of a person's blood more quickly than their urine.

At the end of the day, the state challenged the defense's effort to bring in two Palm Bay officers who had contact with a man who said he was on the phone with Kerchner at the time of the shooting. Jeffrey Dieguez testified in court that he overheard a man he identified as Kerchner's boyfriend ask for a gun and say he would kill the deputy because he didn't want to go to prison. On cross examination, the defense pressed him about his recollection of hearing a siren. Dieguez said he wasn't sure what he told the police the first time they spoke to him, because he had just been stabbed and was in Palm Bay Hospital. But the defense said that isn't true and he was in the hospital because he had tried to kill himself with an overdose of cocaine.

"He committed perjury in court in a capital murder." Defense Attorney Mark Lanning said.

The judge ruled the officers will be allowed to testify.