Paragraph 14 reads: "At the time, John Brickley was taking medication for depression".
Brickley pleads guilty to avoid death sentence
12/13/2002 4:51 PM
By: Antonio Castelan
A former Austin real estate agent pleaded guilty Friday to the murder of his wife and son two years ago.
John Brickley, 47, worked out a plea bargain to avoid the possibility of a death sentence. Instead, he will serve life in prison.
The victims' family members are satisfied with John Brickley's fate.
Outside the 403rd district court, the relatives of the victims breathed a sigh of a relief after hearing a guilty plea from John Brickley for the death of his wife, Phyliss, and son, Mikey.
Brickley pleaded guilty to two counts of capital murder, attempted murder, and arson. The arson incident left him severely burned and crippled.
In December 2000, Brickley was accused of stabbing his wife and son to death, then setting their bodies on fire.
Phyliss Brickley earlier had filed for divorce because of physical abuse from John.
Joey Kelly witnessed the murders that night while staying over at his cousin's house. He managed to escape with a stab wound to the arm.
"I'm really glad it's over with, and I really miss my aunt and cousin," he said.
In court, Phyliss Brickley's sisters read a statement to John telling them how much they miss their loved ones.
"We want people to know that even if it's your wife and son, it's not okay to murder somebody, and that there will be a punishment for that," said Pam Bates.
"Mostly, our family doesn't have to live in fear anymore. We worried he'd get out and do something else," said Joyce Evans.
Family members said the deaths resulted from domestic violence.
"There was a threat the night before this happened. She thought he would not really do it. She did not tell me; she told her mother. He said I will fight you to the death over this divorce stuff. She didn't think he meant it literally," said Patty Kelly.
At the time, John Brickley was taking medication for depression.
Brickley's defense says his mental state was never really in question. That's why Brickley decided to bargain for life in prison.
"It was the right thing to do. It was the right thing to accept responsibility for the crime that he committed," said defense attorney Carlos Garcia.
Brandon, John Brickley's son, now has to live with the loss of a mother and brother.
Family members say he and the rest of the family will now try to go on with their lives.
In Texas, a life sentence means Brickley will have to serve 40 calendar years before becoming eligible for parole at age 87.