By KELLI KENNEDY
2:29 PM EDT, October 15, 2007
A judge sentenced a man to death Monday, nearly nine years after he left a 5-year-old girl to be eaten alive by alligators in the Everglades and tried to kill her mother.
Harrel Franklin Braddy, 58, attacked Shandelle Maycock and daughter Quatisha after he was released early from prison for good behavior in another case. He was convicted in July of first-degree murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, attempted escape and other charges.
Judge Leonard E. Glick also sentenced Braddy to three consecutive life terms on the kidnapping and burglary with an assault charges. He also got 30 years in prison on the attempted murder of Shandelle, 15 years on child neglect causing great bodily harm and five years on attempted escape.
Prosecutors said Braddy tossed Maycock in the trunk of his car in 1998 and drove her to a remote sugarcane field, choked her to unconsciousness and left her to die. She never saw her child again.
Braddy drove the girl to a section of Interstate 75 in the Everglades known as Alligator Alley and dropped her in the water beside the road, prosecutors said. She was alive when alligators bit her on the head and stomach, a medical examiner said.
Authorities found the girl's body two days later, her left arm missing and her skull crushed, prosecutors said. Maycock woke up bleeding and disoriented, but managed to flag down help.
Braddy's attorney, G.P. Della Fera, said Braddy knew Maycock from his involvement in church outreach programs.
``I'm saddened for both families,'' Della Fera said.
The case took so long because Braddy repeatedly fired his lawyers and represented himself in court sometimes.
Maycock sobbed during the initial sentencing as she told jurors how her life without her only child would never be the same. The little girl she nicknamed Candy had just started kindergarten and loved writing her name and singing along with the church choir.
Prosecutor Abbe Rifkin said Braddy got the appropriate sentence.
``Due to his own horrific actions, Harrel Braddy has caused a lot of pain to a lot of people, including the people who loved him and cared for him,'' Rifkin said in an e-mail. ``The State is grateful that Quatisha's small voice was finally heard, and that the defendant received the sentence he so rightfully earned.''
Braddy had been out of prison for a little over a year before the 1998 kidnapping. He was released early after serving 13 years of a 30-year sentence for several charges including attempted murder.
He wore an electric shock device and knee brace, making it difficult for him to bend his knee during the sentencing. The courtroom was filled with extra police officers, all measures taken after Braddy escaped from the courthouse in 1984 when he choked a Miami-Dade County corrections officer.
During two other escapes that year, Braddy kidnapped and robbed an assistant pastor and an elderly couple. At one point Braddy was on the run for more than a month before authorities found him in Georgia.
After he was arrested for kidnapping the Maycocks, he tried to escape from the interrogation room by bending an air conditioning grate.