Excerpts From Sentencing of Brandon Milburn – 3-30-15
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE COUNTY OF ST. LOUIS
STATE OF MISSOURI
TWENTY-FIRST JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
The Honorable Robert S. Cohen Presiding
STATE OF MISSOURI, )
. ) Cause No.
v. ) 14SL-CR1101
BRANDON MILBURN, )
EXCERPTS FROM SENTENCING
March 30, 2015
For the State of Missouri:
Michael Hayes, Esq.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
100 South Central Avenue, 2nd Floor
Clayton, Missouri 63105
For the Defendant:
Michael A. Bert, Esq.
1520 Washington Ave, Suite 226
St. Louis, MO 63103-1866
Linda Nichols, CCR #0329, RDR, CRR
Official Court Reporter – Division 1
Twenty-First Judicial Circuit
STATEMENT OF BARBARA BRAZEL
Your Honor, I’ve known Brandon the entire duration of his time in St. Louis. Early on, in the 2007 to 2009 years at the time of the allegations, he was really just an acquaintance. We were fellow members at the Christian Church. I was on staff at St. Louis Christian College, where he attended. It was approximately three and a half years ago that Brandon became a closer part of mine and my family’s life. Since that time, we have maintained contact through phone conversations, messages, and occasional visits by my family to California, and he back with my family in St. Louis.
I know and love and have an incredible amount of admiration for the victims and their families, and we’ve been friends a long time into the past. I, too, want to say that these two young men are some of the best I’ve ever met. They are top of the line. The reason I’m standing here, though, is not to speak about the Brandon Milburn that I was acquainted with but the man that I know now, the Brandon Milburn that sits before us here today. I want you to please believe me, if I had any doubt that Brandon would harm any young person now or in the future, I would be sitting back there with my friends — who are so courageous — because they’ve gone through a nightmare. I wouldn’t be standing on this side to speak for Brandon.
Being allowed to walk through life with him in a support role these past few years, though, has allowed me a lot of insight, I believe, into who he is. It was while Brandon was still here in St. Louis, not long before his venture to California, that I remember a conversation we had. He told me that his past had really been messed up. Later, after he was established in California, in another conversation we had he mentioned that he had done some really bad things. Things that he was so ashamed of. I didn’t pry into what, but as I look back and think through all the events of this past year, it seemed that Brandon, even at that time, grasped that his actions had been wrong and he was seeking to heal from this really bad and ugly thing.
In winter and spring of 2013, Brandon came for a visit immediately following a time of intense personal healing at the Colorado Ranch. It seemed like he had had a metamorphosis from an insecure and not so confident young man into a man with passion, who was so sure who he was and what he was about. Other people here that week who spoke to him also commented on the difference in who he was. He had a renewed drive and direction.
It was around that same time that Brandon, when he was no longer ministering at Mission Church, needed to find work somewhere to sustain himself so that he didn’t have to come back to St. Louis. He loved California. He landed a job as a barista at Starbucks. I worried about him a lot during that time. I worried that the three-o’clock-in-the-morning long drives to work and the normal wear and tear of life, bills, and payments would suck him under. But I found him to be positive, embracing life, and thankful for the job he had. He would talk about the people that he was able to show care and concern for, and he told me about the lives of those that were around him. It seemed like the change from Colorado had stuck, and he wasn’t reverting back. He was looking forward to the future, but really thankful for what he had right now.
I would sometimes speak to him after his sessions with a counselor in Santa Barbara and he would talk about breakthroughs he was experiencing. Again, we didn’t talk in depth about what kind of issues they were, but he was so excited to be on the road to healing and the road to recovery. Though I didn’t know what issues he was dealing with, it was obvious that progress was happening.
This year I’ve had many conversations with Brandon in the jail, on the phone, and in the mail. Throughout this all, three things kept resurfacing. There was sorrow for pain he caused the victims, his family who loves him dearly, and the people that love him. He also looked for ways in jail to help the people that were around him. He saw a lot of needs in his fellow inmates and he was well-respected there. He always asked the question, What can I do to move forward and make a difference in the world?
I don’t take this stand lightly. It’s really painful to be up here. I love all these people in this room. But I fully believe there has been change that has occurred in his life. I believe he is a very different man than the kid of years ago. I think he exhibits security, not fear, patience, not impulse, and wisdom. He gained those really recently. I am hopeful that who he is at present will clearly be seen by the Court, and that it will help him as he navigates his future.
THE COURT: Thank you, ma’am.
(This is a copy of the original text.)