Inmate found guilty on all counts in deadly Pasquotank prison riot, faces death penalty

North Carolina

DARE COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — Testimony in Mikel Brady’s murder trial lasted for four days, but it only took a North Carolina jury 30 minutes to find him guilty on all counts.

That same jury will soon decide if Brady will be sentenced to death.

“We the jury find the defendant Mikel Brady guilty of first-degree murder,” the clerk read to the court.

Before the verdict was decided, both the prosecution and defense gave their closing arguments.

“That man, Mikel Brady, beat that man, George Midgett, like he was trying to bust concrete,” North Carolina District Attorney Andrew Womble said with a hammer in his hand.

Prosecutors say Brady and three other inmates planned the escape attempt for months from the Pasquotank Correctional Institution.

Using hammers and scissors, they killed four prison employees and wounded several others after setting a fire as a diversion.

“We know who originated the plan, know who led the plan and we know who put the actions in place to further the plan,” Womble added.

The evidence was overwhelming against Brady. There was video from prison cameras that showed Brady attacking officers and video where he confessed to the crime.

Brady’s defense attorney didn’t deny his client was involved, but told the jurors the prosecution was trying to pin the crime on solely on Brady, and reminded the jurors there were three other inmates involved.

Prosecutors say Brady was just as responsible as the others.

“When you hunt with a pack you are responsible for the kill,” Womble said.

On Monday afternoon the sentencing phase of the trial got underway.  

Prosecutors called former North Carolina State Trooper Micheal Potts to the stand. Potts told the jury he was shot five times by Brady during a traffic stop in 2013. It was the reason why Brady was serving time in Pasquotank to begin with.

Family members of the four victims took the stand taking about their loved ones and what they lost two years ago.

“It has been awful,” said Deborah Howe, who lost her son Geoffrey. “You never get over it. I miss him every single day. He always told me he never came in contact with the inmates, but I never asked if they came in contact with him.

Geoffrey Howe worked at the prison in the maintenance department.
Howe was killed along with Wendy Shannon and correction officers Veronica Darden and Justin Smith.

“My world is lost,” Smith’s mom Melanie Mathewson said. “Part of my heart is gone. It is so hard each day.”

Prosecutors rested its sentencing case. Defense attorneys will begin Tuesday morning with the possibility of Brady taking the stand.

The jury will then decide to sentence him to life in prison or death. 

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