Inmate convicted of murdering 4 Pasquotank corrections officers details past, botched escape attempt

North Carolina

DARE COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — Mikel Brady spent two hours on the stand Tuesday afternoon, and told the jury everything. He went step by step, talking about the escape attempt from conception to trying to carry out the plan.

Brady, who was convicted Tuesday of four counts of murder, said it was his idea to escape from the Pasquotank Correctional Institution. He told the court he had been thinking about it ever since getting to prison in 2013.

The 30-year-old talked about his abuse as a child. His mother testified he was sexually and physically abused by his father. Brady said he was forced to take prescription medication as a teenager to help with his bipolar disorder.  

He said the medicine made him feel like a zombie and he fought taking pills.

He told the jury his criminal life started in his late teens with breaking into houses in Vermont.

“We would steal anything we could sell,” Brady said. “Sometimes it was stupid stuff like beer.”

Brady and a friend were eventually caught and charged with home invasion.

During the investigation, FBI agents charged him with possession of dynamite. Brady says he stole the explosives from an area business.

He was sentenced on both state and federal charges and served almost two years behind bars.

When he got out he was still on bond. Brady told the court that’s when he and a friend when to jack some deer. It is an illegal practice of shining light into the deer’s eyes at night, making it easy to shoot.

One night while out deer jacking, Brady shot what he thought was a real deer. It turned out to be a mechanical deer step up by law enforcement.

Brady told the court he then went on the run, living for a bit in Maine and then with his sister for Alabama. He and his girlfriend would eventually move to Durham, North Carolina.

Brady says just weeks after getting Durham, he was pulled over by a state trooper. That’s when he shot the trooper five times. He was arrested the next day.

In 2013, he began serving his sentence in Pasquotank.

He says he worked in the warehouse of the sewing room so he had access to hammers, scissors and saws.

“I could go anywhere I wanted to go,” Brady said. “No questions asked.”

He admits the plan to escape was his idea. He told the jury he and the other three inmates began planning three months before October 12, which actually wasn’t suppose to be the day the escape attempt happened. It was supposed to be two weeks later, but he thought another inmate got wind of the plan and was going to turn them in.

Brady told the jury how he was able to make backpacks and pants from materials in the sewing room, and right in front of officers.

He said he made the spears out of supplies in the warehouse using a wooden broom and metal from shelving.

“I think the escape was a work in progress,” Brady added. “Everybody was in agreement of what they had to do”

Brady told the court he began making final preparations on the day of the escape by putting the spears together.

He then went on to talk about the actual event, including details of each person murdered.

Brady started with Veronica Darden, saying he didn’t want to kill her.

“She said something to me, and that’s when Seth Frazier hit her with a hammer,” Brady said. “The plan was that she was supposed to go down with one hit. She started to scream. That’s when I punched her in the face and she went down to the floor.”

Brady says he went to take care of others things while two of the inmates were supposed to take out corrections officer Justin Smith.

“By the time I arrived Smith was on his last leg,” Brady said. “I pulled the (scissors) blade and stabbed him four to eight times in the right side. I held him while the others finished him off.”

Brady told the court the four inmates then went down the elevator toward the loading dock. He used a radio stolen from Smith to call in the fire he just set. It was meant to be a diversion.

When they got down to the loading dock, Brady said it was his job to take out the corrections officer.

“When I say take out, it’s not saying kill,” Brady said. “Just knock out.”
Brady says that’s where he saw Wendy Shannon.

“I said in my mind it’s go time,” Brady added. “I grabbed Mrs. Shannon and hit her with the hammer. It was a glancing blow and the hammer slipped out of my hands. I punched her in the face and punched her again and she went unconscious.”

Brady told the jury he pulled Shannon into the elevator and that’s when Geoffrey Howe walked out of the maintenance office.

“I had to do something fast,” Brady said.  “At this time everything was just sidelining, everything was just messed up.”

Brady says he punched Howe twice and knocked him unconscious.

“I hit Geoffrey Howe until he stopped moving,” Brady added. “I don’t know how many times I hit him, but I hit him until he stopped moving.”

Howe, Shannon, Smith and Darden all died in the escape attempt.

Brady then attacked officer George Midgett from behind with a hammer on the loading dock.

Midgett survived, but suffered permanent injuries. 

Brady said the inmates then ran out into the yard and started jumping fences. One by one each inmate was caught.

“I already told them I wanted two possibilities on how this can go,” Brady told the other three inmates. “We escape and I get my freedom. I get them to kill me and I get my freedom.”

One corrections officer shot at Brady, but missed. Brady says he tried to get the officer to shoot him in the chest.

“I tried to get them to shoot me,” Brady said. “I tried multiple ways and finally I decided to give myself up.”

Brady and the other inmates were captured.

He was the first of the three inmates to be put on trial. A jury convicted him of four counts of murder.

The defense finished questioning him, and first thing Wednesday morning prosecutors have the chance to cross examine him.

The jury could be days away from deliberating his punishment. They will decide whether to give him life in prison or the death penalty. 

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