Jacob Brighton was sixteen years old when he would murder his parents in Florida. According to court documents Jacob Brighton in 2007 would fatally shoot his mother and father in Fort Pierce Florida. According to documents Jacob Brighton had planned the double murder for days before it took place. Jacob Brighton would be sentenced to life without parole for the double murder. This teen killer would go up for resentencing however due to the brutality of the crime his sentence did not chance.
Jacob Brighton 2022 Information
|Name:||BRIGHTON, JACOB A|
|Initial Receipt Date:||09/06/2011|
|Current Release Date:||TO BE SET|
Jacob Brighton More News
After describing Jacob Brighton’s 2007 crimes of fatally shooting his parents as committed “in cold blood,” a judge Monday ordered he should keep serving two life prison terms without the possibility of parole.
Brighton, who was 16 on Aug. 2, 2007 when he gunned down his father, Richard Brighton and his mother Penny inside their home west of Fort Pierce, has been serving life since his trial convictions in 2011 of two counts of first-degree murder.
Because he was a minor when he killed, prosecutors could not seek the death penalty.
Richard Brighton, 47, was a self-employed drywall finisher and Penny Brighton, 46, was a varied exceptionality teacher, working with students who had physical, mental and learning disabilities in several grades at St. Lucie Elementary School
“Just before the murders there were no arguments, no conflict, no violence between Jacob Brighton and either of his parents,” St. Lucie County Circuit Judge William Roby said Monday as a dozen family relatives of Brighton’s parents looked on.
“The court finds that the actions taken by Mr. Brighton were atrocious, heinous and cruel … In earlier times, he would have been subject to the death penalty. In fact, for some 229 years this was the law.”
Roby’s ruling followed a resentencing hearing held last week to determine if a life term sentence was still appropriate for Brighton, 30, who was granted a sentencing do-over in 2014.
An appeals court found that based on a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision that banned mandatory life prison terms for minors who kill, Brighton’s punishment violated the dictates of that opinion.
The appellate ruling noted the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case Miller v. Alabama concluded a judge isn’t prohibited from imposing a lifetime sentence for a juvenile offender “as long as the trial court takes into account the various factors which demonstrate how juveniles are different and how these differences counsel against irrevocably sentencing juveniles to a lifetime in prison.”
Under Florida law, juveniles convicted of murder must serve a minimum of 40 years, up to life, and are eligible for a sentencing review after serving 25 years.
In court, Brighton, who was chained and handcuffed as he entered court, remained seated and silent as supportive maternal relatives sat behind him.
Other Brighton relatives, including his brother Jerimiah Brighton, were seated behind state prosecutors.
In his ruling, Roby detailed Brighton’s actions before, during and after the homicides, including that he knew how to wield a gun because his father taught him how to shoot.
He noted too, that Brighton had pondered killing his parents “over a period of time immediately before the murders, and at different times before the day of the murders.”
“Just before the murders, Jacob Brighton was watching TV and joking around with his dad. (He) waited to shoot his mom and dad until after they ate dinner,” Roby said. “Jacob Brighton shot his dad because he knew he could not kill his mom without shooting his dad first.”
Brighton, Roby said, had loaded his father’s 9 mm. handgun and hid it in the edge of his bed by a doorway looking into the kitchen, where they were “both defenseless and vulnerable.”
“He grabbed the 9 mm. pistol, aimed at his father, shot him three times in the back. Dad immediately fell,” Roby said. “His mother tried to run when she heard the shots. Jacob Brighton fired at his mother two times, she collapsed and was instantly paralyzed. At least one of his parents bled out. He then took the time to smoke a joint of marijuana.”
After the shootings, he called a cousin in California and told him what happened. Brighton then flagged down deputies and turned himself in.
After his arrest, Brighton admitted shooting his parents but at his trial, his defense team told jurors the shooting was in self-defense after he’d been victimized by his father’s repeated sexual abuse.
Brighton testified his mother knew about the assaults and failed to do anything to protect him or stop the attacks. His lawyers argued he suffered from battered child syndrome.
State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl on Monday said defense experts who testified last week said Brighton recanted his claims of sexual assault. Roby in court clearly rejected the opinions offered by Brighton’s mental health experts.
“The majority of the defense experts’ direct examination testimony has essentially been eviscerated by the cross-examination of the state,” Roby said. The state’s cross-examination severely diminished the credibility of the vast majority of the defense witnesses.”
Roby concluded Brighton did not kill because of immaturity, impetuosity, peer pressure or other attributes of youth.
“His parents were on him to do chores, that he had been grounded for disciplinary reasons and they wanted him to get a job,” he said. “Jacob Brighton essentially could not do what he wanted to do at age 16. He did not like having his parents control him. He felt that his parents pushed him to be someone he was not, so he killed them.”
After court, Brighton’s lawyer Assistant Public Defender Usha Maharajh said they were “disappointed” in the sentence and plan to file an appeal.
“The court clearly did not properly consider the substantial mitigation with evidence of Jacob’s very dysfunctional home life,” Maharajh said.
Pamela Roberts Smith, 60, Penny Brighton’s twin sister, who sobbed in court and told her nephew she loved him as he left court, later said she’ll continue to stand by him.
“What happened in that house was horrible and I love Jake. This has caused a huge division in our family.,” she said. “And I will continue to support Jake and I love Jerimiah.
Still, Bakkedahl, who noted the inconsistent version of events told since 2007, could only guess why Brighton stopped disparaging his father as part of his defense
“Ultimately maybe pangs of guilt or conscience tugged at him to some degree because he couldn’t live with the fact that he’s calling his father a child rapist,” Bakkedahl said.
“If we did anything successfully, I think we partially restored the character of Rick Brighton and have established without question that he was not a child molester as portrayed by his son in the original trial.”