Trial begins for Brandon Bradley in Brevard deputy slaying

Bradley charged with shooting, killing Brevard Deputy Barbara Pill

By Justin Warmoth - Anchor

VIERA, Fla. - Opening statements started Tuesday in the trial for the man accused of killing a Brevard County deputy.

Prosecutors say Brandon Bradley, 24, shot and killed Brevard County Deputy Barbara Pill during a traffic stop in March of 2012.

After nearly a month of jury selection, a group of eight men and seven women will determine the fate of Bradley.

Prosecutors say Pill didn't have time to reach for her firearm before Bradley fired eight shots, five hitting Pill, including one to her head.

"Deputy Pill never even had a chance to reach for her firearm," said Assistant State Attorney Jim McMaster. "Her last act was to reach for the emergency transmission on her breast plate armor and activate that call for help, which only allowed the sounds of gun shots to be broadcast over the radio."

During opening statements Tuesday afternoon, McMaster told jurors they will see dash cam video of Bradley shooting Pill.

Prosecutors say Bradley had a plan to kill any officer who planned on putting him back in prison, but Public Defender Mike Pirolo claims his client was "out of it" and high on drugs before shooting and killing Pill.

"This is not a case of a plan or intent to kill any officer and more specifically it's not a plan or intent to kill Deputy Barbara Pill," said Pirolo.

Before opening statements began Tuesday, Bradley's then-girlfriend and co-defendant in the case Andria Kerchner took the stand during a pre-trial hearing. Kerchner took a plea deal in January. She was sentenced to 12 years in prison and will now be a state witness in the trial. The two were face to face for the first time since their arrests.

Kerchner was called to the courtroom as part of a motion regarding her anticipated testimony. The defense argued that because of her excessive drug use, Kerchner isn't in a position to accurately testify, but the judge denied that motion.

An attorney asked Kerchner, "What, if anything, did he [Bradley] say about what he was going to do as part of whatever he had to do?"

"Anything. He would 'shoot these crackers' was his exact words," Kerchner answered.

Court is in recess until 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and the trial is expected to last up to five weeks.

If a jury convicts Bradley of first-degree murder he could face the death penalty.

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