California

Man murders wife, three children, mother-in-law

July 6, 2003
Bakersfield, California
Vincent Brothers murders his wife, their children, and his mother-in-law

Brothers and his wife had had marital issues in the past, including an annulment to their marriage due to his infidelity. The couple remarried when his wife, Joanie, became pregnant with their third child.

The family was murdered between the morning and evening church services on July 6. The victims were found on Tuesday the 8th:

  • Joanie was laying face down in bed. She had been shot 3 times in the head, twice in the arm, and stabbed 7 times.
  • Marshall (6 weeks) was found next to his mother, under a pillow. He was shot in the back.
  • Marques (4) was found on his mother’s bed with his eyes open. He had been shot in the side of his head and his fingertips had been bitten to the bone. It’s suspected he had seen the killer and, frightened, put his fingers in his mouth, his jaw clamping on them when he was killed.
  • Lyndsey (23 months) was found at the foot of her mother’s bed, shot in the back.
  • Ernestine, Joanie’s mother, was found in the hallway, shot twice in the face. Next to her body was the gun she held while confronting the killer.

To establish an alibi, Brothers flew from his home in California to Ohio to visit his brother. He then drove his rental car from Ohio to California, murdered his family, staged a break-in, and returned to Ohio. Evidence to support this version of events include the odometer of the rental car which had sufficient mileage to have driven round-trip to California, and some of the insects present in the vehicle’s grill only live in the western United States despite Brothers’ claim to have stayed in Ohio during his trip.

Brothers was convicted of first degree murder in 2007 and sentenced to death. He currently waits for his execution on death row in San Quentin.

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