The Final Judgment

Two years ago this week, Brandy DuVall was killed by members of the Deuce-Seven gang. For the past month, the courts have been deciding whether her murderers live or die.

Randall notes that the panel is here to judge the defendant's character two years ago, when the crime happened, "not ten years ago," when Ann Whitis knew a different young man.

"We don't like to think that that type of horror can take place today, but it does, it did, and she went through it. Put yourself in her shoes. An ongoing spiral of ongoing spiral of pain, suffering, slow death."

The prosecutor recalls the image of Danny handcuffing Brandy and placing a hood over her face. Danny calling the shots. "They get to the canyon, and everybody gets out. Everybody. And they stand five feet from her. Five feet.

"Pancho's got her down. Someone says, 'Hold her head.' Sam does, and they stab her...And then they throw her down the ravine like so much evidence."

After the gang members get back in the car and Pancho announces that he forgot the knife, it is Danny who gets out and retrieves it. "Knew right where to look," Randall says.

"He brings it back and gets in the car. What's his comment? 'We are serial killers now.' Not 'you guys.' But 'We are serial killers now.'"

Later, "Danny boasts" to a sheriff's deputy, Randall notes, referring to the incident at the Jefferson County jail. "He says, 'We're not in here for selling crack.'"

Randall moves to what he knows will be the crux of the defense argument: That Danny was not the man who actually stabbed Brandy.

"He intended her death after her torture. And because he is not the quote, unquote, triggerman, he doesn't die for this? He is involved in every brutality inflicted on this girl--all through the house, the worst one with the sex, in the car, in the canyon.

"The only thing that he does not do is physically place the knife into her body. He has Francisco for that."

Because of Danny, of Francisco, all Brandy's family has left are memories. "And as Rose so eloquently stated, 'A cold stone does not satisfy the arms of a 74-year-old lady.' Because if you sentence this man to life, he will be in prison for sure, but he will be able to see his family. He will be able to see his boys. He will be able to see his mother."

One by one, Randall addresses the aggravators for which he says there is a "landslide of evidence" proving each beyond a reasonable doubt.

First, that Brandy was killed in furtherance or flight from the commission of a felony. First-degree sexual assault. Sexual assault on a child by use of force. First-degree assault. He doesn't dwell on this...he feels he doesn't have to.

The next is that Danny killed a kidnap victim. Randall cites the Colorado Supreme Court's rulings on aggravators that sprang from the case of Gary Davis, who kidnapped, then raped and killed a woman. In October 1997, Davis became the first--and so far, only--person executed in Colorado since 1967 ("The Killer Inside Him," October 16, 1997).

"The legislature reasonably can view as particularly cruel the suffering to which a kidnap victim is subjected through the criminal's calculated terror as the victim is forced to accompany him to her own execution."

The third aggravator is that Brandy was killed to prevent arrest and prosecution. "This factor includes the killing of a witness," Randall says, noting that at one point in the evening, Danny had also discussed killing Jacob Casados and possibly the Warren brothers because he didn't trust them.

"Was she killed because she was a witness to a crime? Certainly," he says. Brandy was asked if she knew where she was and had made the mistake of giving the right answer. "She knows too much. She knows too much. She'd heard their names, seen their faces. She had to die."

The fourth aggravator asserts that Danny was party to an agreement to kill another person. Again, Randall cites the state Supreme Court ruling on Davis regarding the legislature's intent for this aggravator: "The legislature might have concluded that the involvement of two or more persons in a plan to take the life of another multiplies the evil and the depravity of mind requisite to take innocent human life."

Randall returns to the case at hand. "Was there an agreement to kill Brandy DuVall?...How many meetings did they have to talk about the death?

"'Should we bury her in the back?' 'Should we kill her with Sega cords?' It was clearly an agreement that this young girl--when they were done with their fun with her, when they were done with the sex they were having with her--she didn't matter anymore.

"She had to die to protect the heart of the Deuce-Seven."
Finally, Randall reaches the fifth aggravator, "that the offense was committed in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner." And one last time he cites the Davis ruling that defines "cruel, heinous or depraved" as "those murders which are conscienceless, pitiless and unnecessarily torturous to the victims.

"Those words...are the very heart of this case, because there was no conscience there. There was no pity there. It was only torture for Brandy DuVall."

« Previous Page
Next Page »
My Voice Nation Help