Killer says plea deal too lenient, asks for more prison time

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A man who killed a retired librarian while he was speeding away from police will spend more time behind bars after he explained to a judge that the plea deal offered by prosecutors was too lenient.

Friday afternoon, Joshua Brazeal, his family members and the loved ones of the 79-year-old woman he killed were all united in their belief that he deserved a harsher sentence.

On August 19th, Brazeal was speeding away from police when he accidentally crashed a stolen car into the vehicle owned by longtime Kansas City librarian Geraldine Strader. Strader was a pillar of the community and ultimately died from her injuries.

In a surprising move, Wyandotte County Judge Bill Klapper rejected the original 41-month deal offered by prosecutors and increased Brazeal’s punishment to 78 months. Even more surprising than that, Brazeal’s family and Geraldine Strader’s family comforted each other during Friday’s emotional sentencing.

The victim’s daughter, Kathleen Brandt, was disappointed with the DA’s office, telling the local CBS affiliate:

“How in the world can a criminal with this kind of an impressive criminal record, how in the world can even he recognize there is nothing fair about this,” Geraldine’s daughter Kathleen Brandt said. “What I’m left with is our judicial system seems to be broken. How did an assistant DA analyze these charges, including all of the charges they chose not to bring forth, how did they analyze that and agree to a 41-month agreement in the first place?”

Brazeal and his sister both agreed with the Brandts. They also asked the judge to give a harsher punishment.

“I knew it wasn’t right. I knew that Josh has been let off so easily. This had to stop. This had to end. I had to say something to get him the help he needs,” Laura Brazeal said. “What he did was wrong. He needs to face it like a man, stand up, and no longer be the victim. He is not a victim. Drug addicts are not victims they are users.”

“My mother would say put him away until he learns. I’m hoping those six and half years are long enough for him to learn,” Kathleen Brandt said.

The crash that should have divided two families instead brought them closer together. They all hope Joshua Brazeal makes drastic changes in his life.