Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Man Pleads Guilty but Mentally Ill; Brasiel Sentenced to Consecutive Life Terms for 2 Stabbing Deaths

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Man Pleads Guilty but Mentally Ill; Brasiel Sentenced to Consecutive Life Terms for 2 Stabbing Deaths

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

BRUNSWICK | Raymond Michael Brasiel pleaded guilty but mentally ill Tuesday to murder in the stabbing deaths of two people on July 16 and 19 and aggravated assault for stabbing his first victim's wife.

After hearing the details of Brasiel's mental-health treatments, Superior Court Judge Roger B. Lane accepted the plea and sentenced the 22-year-old to consecutive life terms without parole for the murders of Bobby Lee Jenks and Amber Whited followed by a 20-year sentence for the knife attack on Jenks' wife, Mickie.

As Lane questioned Brasiel and advised him of his rights, Brasiel stood straight and answered, "Yes, sir," in a strong voice. The only time he said anything else was when Adams asked if Brasiel's defense lawyer, Newell Hamilton Jr. of the Capital Defenders Council, had done a good job. "A great job," Brasiel answered.

Hamilton explained to Lane that his office, which normally defends only death-penalty cases, had gotten involved because there had been a possibility that Brasiel would be tried for his life.

"I think everyone would agree we should not be executing the mentally ill," Hamilton said.

Newell asserted that his office's mitigation investigator, clinical social worker Laura Switzer, had turned up sufficient evidence to show Brasiel was "mentally ill at the time of these offenses."

District attorney Jackie Johnson agreed as did Lane.

Medical and mental-health records show Brasiel had been confined and treated at a mental-health hospital in Waycross and was released a day or so before Whited disappeared while taking her lunch break from her workplace, a Brunswick Harley-Davidson dealership.

Switzer testified about Brasiel's history of treatment for his mental disorders and, in the days before Whited's death, he showed increasing paranoia.

Switzer had gathered two thick binders of Brasiel's records, including a history of his hospitalizations, his school records and several suicide attempts. Switzer testified that Brasiel's mother gave birth to her first child at age 14 and was pregnant with Brasiel at 16.

Brasiel did not meet his father until he was 13 and bounced between his newly discovered father's home and his mother's.

Brasiel's mother abused other drugs throughout his childhood, and she also took the drugs intended for her son's mental-health treatment after he was diagnosed with hyperactivity disorder. He was prescribed Ritalin and later the stronger Adderol, Switzer testified.

"His mother was taking it recreationally," Switzer said. "His behavior really fluctuated."

Brasiel also started cooking methamphetamine for his mother, Johnson said.

There were records indicating that Brasiel had attempted suicide several times and had been involuntarily committed a number of times, she testified. …

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