A day after finding him guilty of two murders, a Holmes County jury decided against the death penalty for Joshua Brandyn Gaskey, instead sentencing him to life in prison.

BONIFAY — A day after finding him guilty of two murders, a Holmes County jury decided against the death penalty for Joshua Brandyn Gaskey, instead sentencing him to life in prison.

The courtroom at the Holmes County Courthouse was about half full throughout Gaskey's five-day trial, as family and friends of Jackie and Sheley Glenn Brooks awaited a verdict for the man accused of killing the couple in 2015.

Late Saturday, they got their answer, as the jury declared Gaskey should be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"Gaskey decided to shoot both my parents in the head, twice each, killing them," the couple's daughter Dede Brooks Hinote said in a statement after the sentence was read. "He should be held to the highest penalty allowed by law."

Gaskey had faced the death penalty for the killings. Police said he traveled to the Brookses' Ponce de Leon home April 18, 2015, after having been denied money and prescription drugs the day before, and shot Jackie and Sheley each in the head twice with a .22-caliber revolver.

The couple were ministry workers in Holmes County, and their son had testified Friday that Gaskey and his girlfriend, Sarah Carroll, took advantage of their giving spirit.

"My parents prayed for him and only wanted to help them. In return, he murdered them," Hinote said Saturday.

The jury deliberated for about 45 minutes Friday before convicting Gaskey on all charges: two counts of first-degree murder, armed burglary and armed robbery.

On Saturday, the prosecution told the jury during closing arguments that Gaskey had traveled to the Brookses' home with the intention to rob them and then to kill them so they could not identify him later on.

The defense, however, asked the jury to give weight to Gaskey's childhood and how it has affected him throughout his life.

Florida requires a unanimous verdict to issue a death penalty, meaning at least one member of the jury on Saturday voted for life in prison, the sentence ultimately handed down.

Gaskey's family was not present during the trial or sentencing. His mother is in Maine, and brother is in Arizona.

For Hinote, the verdict brought needed closure.

"I am pleased that Joshua Gaskey will never have the opportunity to take from another family," she said.

 

Below is the full statement from the Brooks family:

"Glen and Jackie Brooks — my parents, were kind and loving people. I feel as though my family has been robbed of precious memories with them.

As for Joshua Gaskey, like so many other people who grew up with sad childhoods, now he is an adult who must be held accountable for decisions he makes everyday.

In this case, when he decided to shoot both my parents in the head, twice each, killing them, he should be held to the highest penalty allowed by law.

I do pray for his sake that he does 'find religion' in prison — for real.

My parents prayed for him and only wanted to help him. In return, he murdered them.

Nothing the jury or anyone could else could do will ever bring my parents back; however, I am pleased that Joshua Gaskey will never have the opportunity to take from another family.

— Dede Brooks Hinote and Family

 

An earlier version of this story appears below.

Staff report

BONIFAY — A Holmes County jury on Saturday night gave Joshua Gaskey life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2015 murders of Jacqulyn and Sheley Glenn Brooks.

Gaskey, of Pensacola, had faced the death penalty. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, armed burglary and armed robbery related to the Brookses' April 18, 2015, murders at their Grant Road residence in Ponce de Leon.

The jury deliberated for about 45 minutes Friday before finding Gaskey guilty on all charges. Florida requires a unanimous verdict to issue a death penalty, meaning at least one member of the jury on Saturday voted instead for life in prison.

After his sentencing, the Brooks family said they were relieved Gaskey would never be able to take from another family as he had taken from theirs, though the verdict could never bring back their loved ones.

This story will be updated.