Joshua Gaskey was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, armed burglary and armed robbery in the 2015 murders of local ministry workers Glen and Jackie Brooks at their Grant Road residence in Ponce de Leon.

BONIFAY — Less than 45 minutes after deliberations began Friday, a Holmes County jury came back with a guilty verdict for Joshua Brandyn Gaskey.

Gaskey was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, armed burglary and armed robbery in the 2015 murders of local ministry workers Glen and Jackie Brooks at their Grant Road residence in Ponce de Leon. Gaskey faces the death penalty when the jury reconvenes Saturday for sentencing.

Prosecutor Brandon Young in opening statements spoke of givers and takers, equating Gaskey to the ultimate taker.

“Henry Ford said, ‘Givers need to set limits because takers rarely do,’ ” Young said as he began painting a picture of a man who took advantage of the giving nature of the Brookses and their son, Dale Hardin.

Hardin acted as something of a parental figure to Gaskey and his girlfriend, Sarah Carroll, he testified. He said he had gone to extreme measures to help Gaskey, eventually losing his Pensacola home and two cars because of it.

The losses led Hardin back home, where he moved back in with his parents, followed shortly thereafter by Gaskey and Carroll. Hardin testified that he would give his mother’s pain medication to Gaskey and Carroll after they complained of being “dope sick.”

“I just wanted to help them get clean,” he said. I “loved him (Gaskey), as if he were my son.”

But when Gaskey and Carroll began to steal medications, Hardin said his parents asked them to leave and not return. On April 17, they returned to ask for money or pills, Hardin said. The next day, they came back and shot the Brookses each in the head twice with a .22-caliber revolver, then stole two bottles of prescription narcotics, according to court and police records.

Public Defender Mark Sims argued that Gaskey could not have committed the murders because he is a “little feller” who wasn’t tall enough to make the angle of the shots. Sims also suggested Hardin could be to blame for the death of his parents.

“Hardin had the motive to kill his parents — Gaskey didn’t,” he said. “Hardin stood to collect insurance money and a paid-for home, where Gaskey would be killing his cash cow.”

Sims also argued that the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement did not conduct a thorough investigation, instead relying upon an early confession by Gaskey.

“Too many things were not done that should have been,” Sims said. “Once they heard there was a confession, they stopped looking at anything else.”

The jury found Gaskey guilty on all four counts. As the verdicts were read, Gaskey stood stoically next to his attorneys. The Brookses’ family cried silently as they heard the words “guilty as charged.”

Sentencing is set for Saturday at the Holmes County Courthouse.

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