19 October 2007
DEATH. A sentence that a Miami judge deemed fit for Harrel Braddy's heinous crime.
His despicable act?
Leaving 5-year-old Quatisha Maycock to die in a part of Florida's Everglades known as Alligator Alley, nine years ago.
Police found her body two days later, her left arm missing, her skull crushed by alligators.
The medical examiner testified that the girl was eaten alive.
Before leaving Quatisha to die, Braddy attacked her mother, MsShandelle Maycock. He stuffed her in a car trunk and left her unconscious in a remote sugarcane field.
Convicted in July of first-degree murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, attempted escape and other charges, jurors in August voted 11-1 for the death penalty.
And on Monday, Circuit Judge Leonard Glick wrote in his sentencing order: 'The defendant... caused this 5-year-old to die, alone in the wilderness, and to be mutilated by monsters of the swamp.
'Adults are supposed to protect children from monsters - they are not supposed to be the monsters themselves.'
Braddy showed no reaction to the decision.
His parents were in the courtroom to hear the sentence. Also in the courtroom, Quatisha's mother crumpled a tissue in her hands andcried.
In deciding between death and life in prison without parole, Judge Glick considered Braddy's reason for harming Quatisha - to keep her from identifying him as the person who tried to kill her mother.
'This plan, well thought out and well carried out, could have no justification, moral or legal, but could only be the product of a person who is so cold and so calculating, so devoid of humanity and only concerned with his own welfare,' said Mr Glick.
In a 1998 interview with the Miami Herald, Ms Maycock spoke of the abduction, abuse and choking.
It all started when Ms Maycock, then a 22-year-old secretary, met Braddy while he was attending church with his wife.
He made it clear he was interested in a romantic relationship, but MsMaycock said she always told him no.
'I always told him, 'I don't see you and me' she said.
'But all of a sudden, he started coming by, asking, 'Do you need anything done?'
'I said yes. He'd take me to the Laundromat, grocery store, pick Quatisha up from day care, things I needed done.
'I needed that help and support as a single parent,' she said.
Braddy, a bricklayer, appeared to be a nice person, she said.
But she had no idea of his violent history, which included convictions for robbery, kidnapping and trying to kill a corrections officer by choking him.
Then, one Friday night, Ms Maycock lied to Braddy that she was to have a male visitor because she wanted him to leave her home.
'He just jumped me,' she said. 'He was choking me. I was fighting him and I fell to the floor.'
Braddy kept choking Ms Maycock and stuffed her into a dark car trunk.
In the car, Quatisha was crying, 'Mummy, Mummy!'
MsMaycock tried to soothe her, saying, 'It's going to be okay.'
PLEADING FOR HER LIFE
Bruised from being choked unconscious, frantic about her crying daughter, MsMaycock pleaded for her life when Braddy opened the trunk lid.
'Why?' she cried to Braddy. 'Why are you doing this?' as he tightened his fingers around her neck again.
'I know you're not this type of person. You don't need to do this,' she pleaded.
'You used me,' snarled Braddy, angry that MsMaycock wouldn't go out with him.
Then, she passed out. When she gained consciousness out there in the field, MsMaycock stumbled out of the bushes and staggered along a road.
Ms Maycock said some 10 or 20 cars passed by before two men stopped to help her. She was barefoot, weak, dazed and bleeding.
Braddy, meanwhile, drove off to dump Quatisha in Alligator Alley.
Said Ms Maycock: 'I loved my daughter. I did and I still do. This hurts so much, to lose a child.'