Florida Supreme Court throws out death sentences for two Central Florida killers

Brevard sheriff calls man who killed deputy 'evil thug'

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

ORLANDO,Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court ordered for two Central Florida convicted murders Thursday to receive new sentencing after throwing out their original death sentences.

Brandon Lee Bradley was convicted of the 2012 killing Brevard County Deputy Barbara Pill. When Bradley shot her, Pill was attempting to stop him after he'd stolen property from a Melbourne hotel and hit another person with his car.

A jury recommended the death penalty by a vote of 10-2. Bradley will receive life without parole if a new jury doesn't unanimously recommend death.

Bradley’s girlfriend, Andria Kerchner, who was in the car with him, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for her role in Pill’s death.

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey and Seminole-Brevard State Attorney Phil Archer hosted a news conference Thursday at 3:45 p.m. in response to the Supreme Court's decision overturning the death sentence. 

Both officials said the death penalty will most likely be pursued once again during Bradley's resentencing. Ivey called Bradley an "evil thug who deserves to die."

“I think Brandon Bradley needs to die for taking the life of Barbara Pill, I don’t make any bones about that. If you execute a law enforcement officer, quite frankly, if you execute anybody in our community, you (deserve the death penalty),” Ivey said.

Archer agreed, adding that while it's frustrating and emotionally exhausting for the victim's family to relive the trauma, he thinks the death penalty is appropriate for someone who committed the “cold, pre-meditated execution of a law enforcement officer.”

“Victim input, family input is one of the most important things to me and I give that great weight, but at the same time we have to do what’s best for the community as well,” Archer said.

Pill was a respected deputy, loving mother and wife and upstanding member of the community, Ivey said.

The second man on death row, Dwayne F. White, was convicted of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his 43-year-old estranged wife, Sarah Yvonne Rucker.

Rucker was trying to retrieve her stolen cellphone from White when she was last seen in 2011.

Her body was found face-down outside a Miami Subs shop off I-4 in Longwood, according to police.

White was sentenced to death by a jury vote of 8-4.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled last October that a new state law requiring at least a 10-2 jury recommendation was unconstitutional.

Under Florida’s new law signed by Gov. Rick Scott in March, a jury must unanimously vote to sentence a person to death.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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