William Brooks Murder: How Did Killer John Brady Die? – In 1958, John Brady and a companion were charged with killing his buddy William Brooks. John insisted that he was simply a part of a scheme to loot the man and had not participated in the murder. But his accomplice betrayed him, and he was ultimately convicted. However, there was information the prosecution was withholding that would fundamentally alter how a jury would perceive the case. Additionally, a new judicial precedent was established that intended to guarantee defendants a fair trial after the sketchy tactics of the prosecution were made public. The most recent episode of the Crime Junkie podcast, “PRECEDENCE: John Brady,” explores the case’s background and what transpired back then.
William Brooks’ Cause of Death
Early in June 1958, John Leo Brady, at 25 years old, fell in love. He was having some issues as well. Nancy Boblit McGowan, his sweetheart, had just informed him that she was expecting a child, and he was the father. She was, however, only 19 and already married to another man. Brady also lacked money.
Brady first met Nancy and Donald Boblit in March 1958 since their parents were close friends with his aunt. Donald was 25 years old, awkward, alone himself, and illiterate. Brady quickly grew close to the two siblings, and he and Nancy fell in love. Nancy then became pregnant.
On Monday, June 23, Nancy was scheduled to go for a weeklong visitation with family in New York. He wrote her a check for $35,000 that Sunday while they were together, with a postdated check on July 6.
It was a dream amount—a sizable figure that he seemingly plucked out of thin air and believed, if he could only make it real, would end all of their problems. Brady and Donald Boblit intend to rob a bank.
Brady had known Brooks, 53, for the majority of his life. He had worked as a hired hand on Brady’s grandfather’s farm, and he had recently recuperated from surgery while staying with Brady and his aunt.
According to themarshallproject, after midnight, Brady and Boblit decided to waylay Brooks as he returned from work. Since Brooks would identify Brady, Boblit would blindfold him. They would then tie him up and hide him in a vacant home, which Boblit claimed to be aware of. They would release him and give him his car back once the robbery was finished. Brady insisted Brooks remain unharmed. He kept saying, “I don’t want him wounded, Donald, not at all. When I was a child, he treated me well.”
The two guys blocked the slender dirt road that ran from the highway to Brooks’ house late that Friday night, June 27, by placing a plank of wood in its path. Things went wrong from the outset. Brooks halted to get the wood, and Boblit emerged from the shadows brandishing a shotgun with two barrels. Brooks was told to enter the vehicle’s back seat. The men placed Brooks on the Fairlane’s rear seat as they left.
“Put that god damn gun away,” Brady replied. “Someone might hear a shot.”
Brooks was too weak to fight, so Boblit used his own red plaid shirt to strangle him. He tightened the sleeves until they were tight. Brady ran back and shoved Boblit away after turning to see what was happening. It was too late, though. William Brooks was placed under some branches after being strangled to death.
They abandoned the automobile in Virginia, dumped the body in the woods, and then picked up John’s car, which was parked in Glen Burnie, Maryland. They never made the plotted bank hit.
John escaped to Cuba after learning that authorities were looking for him, but he later changed his mind and turned himself in at the American embassy there. Initially, John claimed to have knocked out William before Charles, and he stole the car. John reported the location of the abandoned car and bloody clothing. At first, he was accused of moving a stolen car and even entered a guilty plea.
Things changed, though, as soon as Charles was in the hands of the authorities. He stated that John was to blame for everything and brought the cops to the dead body. When John confronted it, he accused Charles of killing the victim. He mentioned that he hit William first to protect Charles by claiming he did so. Charles, however, gave the authorities five distinct admissions. In contrast to the first four, when he blamed John, the fifth saw him accept responsibility and confess to killing William.
Charles chose a bench trial in the meantime, whereas John preferred a jury trial. However, the prosecution decided not to disclose Charles’ fifth confession to the defense in John’s case. This meant that Charles’ confession to the murder was kept a secret from John’s defense, which might have resulted in a lighter sentence for John. In fact, John was found guilty of murder in December 1958 and received the death penalty.
How Did John Brady Pass Away?
When Charles’ trial revealed that he had asserted that his final statement was untrue, John’s new attorney, who had been appointed while he was on death row, filed an appeal. After learning about the fifth confession, the Maryland Court of Appeals concluded in October 1961 that the prosecution had broken the law by withholding Charles’ admission. In May 1963, the Supreme Court ultimately gave John a second sentencing trial and ruled that the evidence suppression was an abuse of due process. The Brady Rule later became the name for this.
John’s sentence was reduced to life in prison, and he was eventually released on parole in 1974. After his release from prison, John led a whole life. He married, earned a degree in criminal justice, and had a son and a daughter. John filed for divorce after 12 years of marriage, and he later relocated to Florida, where he worked as a truck driver and took up fishing. John, who had remarried, passed suddenly in 2009 at the age of 76 from natural causes.