FACTS from Mississippi Court NO. 2004-DR-00913-SCT
The following facts were taken from this Court’s opinion on direct appeal. In December 1997, Brawner married Barbara Craft, and in March 1998, their daughter, Paige, was born. Brawner and Barbara divorced in March 2001, she was awarded custody of Paige, and they lived with Barbara’s parents, Carl and Jane Craft, at their home in Tate County. Brawner also lived with the Crafts off and on during his marriage to Barbara.
3. At the time of the murders, Brawner was living with his girlfriend June Fillyaw, in an apartment in Southaven. According to Brawner, they were having financial difficulties, and on top of that, he had also been told by Barbara that she did not want him around Paige. He testified that pressure on him was building because nothing was going right.
4. On the day before the murders, Brawner left his apartment in Southaven at 3:00 a.m. and headed toward the Crafts’ house, about an hour away. He testified that he thought he might be able to borrow money from Carl, although in a prior statement he said he had planned to rob Carl. While waiting on the Craft’s front steps from approximately 4:00 a.m. until 7:00 a.m., he took a 7-mm Ruger rifle out of Carl’s truck and emptied the bullets from it, because “he didn’t want to get shot.” A dog started barking, and Brawner hid until Carl went back inside, then ran away, thinking Carl might be getting a gun. He then drove back to his apartment.
5. Around noon the following day, April 25, 2001, Brawner again drove to the Crafts’ house, and knocked on the door, but no one was home. He then put on rubber gloves that he had purchased earlier that day, “took the slats out of the back door,” entered the house, and took a .22 rifle. He then went to Carl’s workplace and asked him if it would be OK to go out to the house to wait for Barbara and Paige so that he could see his daughter, to which Carl agreed.
6. Since Barbara and Paige did not return, Brawner decided to leave, and as he was doing so, Barbara, Paige, and Jane pulled into the drive. After a brief conversation with Jane and Barbara, Brawner became agitated and went to the truck and brought back the rifle that he had taken from the Crafts’ house earlier that day. Just as he told Barbara that she was not going to take Paige away from him, he saw Jane walking toward the bedroom and shot her with the rifle. He said he then shot Barbara as she was coming toward him, and went to where Jane had fallen and “put her out of her misery.” After this, he shot Barbara again and took Paige, who had witnessed the murders, to her bedroom and told her to watch TV. After Brawner determined that Paige would be able to identify him, and in his words, he “was just bent on killing,” he went back into the bedroom and shot his daughter twice, killing her. He then waited in the house until Carl came home from work, and when Carl walked through the door, Brawner shot and killed him.
7. Brawner stole approximately $300 from Carl’s wallet, Jane’s wedding ring, and foodstamps out of Barbara’s purse. He took Windex from the kitchen and attempted to wipe away any fingerprints he may have left. Brawner then returned to his apartment in Southaven, where he gave the stolen wedding ring to Fillyaw, asked her to marry him, and told her that he bought the ring at a pawn shop.
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