Nathaniel Brazill was just thirteen years old when he fatally shot his teacher. According to court documents Nathaniel would return to his Florida school after being sent home early for throwing a water balloon at a teacher. Brazill would walk up to the teacher and open fire killing the school teacher. At court this teen killer would be found guilty and would be sentenced to twenty eight years in prison. Nathaniel is scheduled to be released from prison in 2028
Nathaniel Brazill 2020 Information
|Name:||BRAZILL, NATHANIEL R|
|Initial Receipt Date:||08/02/2001|
|Current Facility:||JACKSON WORK CAMP|
|Current Release Date:||05/18/2028|
Nathaniel Brazill Other News
Nathaniel Brazill’s mother didn’t know whether to cry or smile the moment her teenage son became a convicted murderer but dodged a mandatory life sentence.
Polly Powell said she went numb when the jury’s verdict was read last week as she sat among friends and family in a Palm Beach County courtroom.
“My heart just got still,” she said late Wednesday afternoon, speaking publicly for the first time since the verdict of second-degree murder.
With the trial over, Powell says that she now prays that Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Richard Wennet will be lenient in sentencing him and that one day Lake Worth Middle School teacher Barry Grunow’s family can forgive her 14-year-old son.
“Unless [the Grunows] are forgiving in their hearts, it’s going to be hard to get over this hump in their lives,” she said in a half-hour interview with WPTV-Ch. 5 reporter Cynthia Demos.
Brazill shot Grunow last May 26 — the final day of school — when he took a stolen .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun to campus after being suspended earlier in the day for throwing water balloons.
Prosecutors argued that the teen intentionally shot Grunow, 35, and deserved to be convicted of first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence. Brazill’s attorneys pushed for a manslaughter conviction, arguing that the then-13-year-old accidentally fired the gun while he was trying to scare Grunow into letting him talk to two girls inside the teacher’s classroom.
The May 16 verdict fell in the middle. Prosecutors say Brazill now faces between 25 years and life in prison under the state’s 10-20-Life law dealing with crimes involving guns, but the teen’s attorneys will argue that the statute doesn’t apply in the teen’s case. If the defense attorneys are successful, Wennet could sentence the teen to less than the 22-year minimum recommended by state sentencing guidelines.
Time and time again during Wednesday’s interview at her home, Powell came back to a single point — her son is a child who did something wrong but deserves a chance at having a life.
She said that when she visited her son a few days after the verdict, he was all right, but they avoided talking about the decision. She said that this Friday, though, she will have “a one-on-one, hard talk about what’s next.”
Powell said jail has been a tough experience for her son — something she blames for his lack of emotion when he testified during his trial. When he first got there, a group of inmates gave him a hard time, and he’s been doing his best to survive ever since, she said.
“When you’re in a lion cage, you have to be a lion,” she said.
Powell said she can’t put her finger on what went wrong — what prompted her son to steal the gun from the family friend’s dresser. She said she has never talked to her son about shooting his teacher.
Powell said that she used to search her son’s room but hadn’t in the months leading up to the shooting because she was struggling with breast cancer.
“I did random searches because I know there are drugs in the area,” she said. “Nowadays any mother would be crazy not to [do searches].”
Two of Grunow’s older brothers have said they would like Brazill to receive a life sentence, saying the teen clearly meant to kill their brother when he cocked the loaded gun and pointed it at the teacher’s head.
“As far as I’m concerned, a life sentence is getting off easy,” said Kurt Grunow, one of Barry Grunow’s brothers, before the verdict. “His mom can go visit him and talk to him in jail. We can’t go visit Barry. We can’t go see Barry.”
But Powell said she knows in her heart that her son told the truth when he testified the shooting was an accident.
And she said she looks forward to the day when she will be reunited with her son. She admits that as positive as she tries to be, she often cries herself to sleep.
“And then in the morning, it’s another day,” she said.