Official Statement from Free Brandon Team Regarding ABC 20/20 Episode
On Friday, May 20th, 2022, ABC aired an episode featuring the Brandon Woodruff Capital Murder case. While we feel that the show got most things right, there were a few inconsistencies in the reporting, and stories that went unexplained in the episode. These will be outlined below. For the FULL story and all of the details and explanations that are required for this case, you can check out the American Justice Podcast, Season 1. The links are below.
- “A small dagger was found in the barn.” – The dagger that was found was almost two feet long and weighed over 10 lbs. It would be impossible to believe that a 19 year old kid barely weighing 150 lbs could yield a 10 lb sword while simultaneously shooting both of his parents. It was stated by Matt Murphy that the Medical Examiners could not rule this sword out as a murder weapon. While it’s true that the Medical Examiners that testified for the State said “it’s possible” this sword was used during the murders, the Defense expert Dr. Joye Carter, who had impeccable credentials, completely ruled this sword out as a possible weapon used during the attacks. The shape of the blade as contrasted to the stab wounds, the depth of the “full insertion” only being 5.75” deep, and the fact that only Dennis’s blood was found all lead to this not being a possible murder weapon. If this weapon was used to stab TWO people in a very bloody murder, it’s 100% impossible to only have one person’s blood under the handle. Imagine trying to separate two drops of water. Impossible.
In addition, ABC stated that Eric Gentry identified this as the “dagger” that Brandon owned. While he did identify the sword in court, he also said that “it looks a lot bigger than I remember”. That’s because when he first described the dagger to Ranger Collins a week after the murders, he described the dagger Brandon owned as “5-6 inch blade and 3-4 inch handle.” Then, over three years later, the prosecution showed him a picture of the sword found in the Heath barn on an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. He said it looked like the dagger Brandon owned. When they presented the actual sword in court, having a 14” blade and 6” handle, over double the size he described three years earlier, that’s when he said it looked a lot bigger than he remembered. Eric was unfortunately manipulated by the prosecution and tricked into identifying a sword he was trying to remember from three years earlier that he had only seen once or twice.
- Brandon’s Timeline – While Brandon does agree with the Ranger about the times he went places, he stated to the Ranger several times that he was not sure of the exact times. Brandon said, “I can’t give you an exact time.” ABC portrayed Brandon as giving a definite timeframe, and that’s just not true. Most 19 year old kids cannot tell you exact times of where they were a week ago, but Brandon did the best he could to try and get the Ranger to move on and start looking at people that could have actually committed this horrible crime.
The timeline may be the thing that sets Brandon free. It has been proven by forensic cell phone evidence that Brandon only had 14 minutes, in the light most favorable to the prosecution, to commit these murders. It’s very simple. Brandon’s on the phone until 9:51pm. He would have to leave the Royse City (crime scene) house by 10:05pm to get to the Heath house in time to be seen by the neighbor. 9:51 to 10:05 is 14 minutes. Unless you believe that he’s making calls while he’s shooting his father in the face and no one hears his screaming mother, then Brandon only had an opportunity of 14 minutes to commit these crimes. ABC portrayed that he had 20-45 minutes to commit the crimes, which is simply a lie.
In that 14 minutes, Brandon would have to:
- Shoot and stab both of his parents.
- Go to the bathroom dripping blood.
- Take off his clothes and put them somewhere they’d never be found.
- Bring in some new clothes from somewhere.
- Clean the blood off of the knife and gun.
- Take a shower.
- Change into clean clothes without getting any blood on him.
- Get a new pair of shoes since obviously the shoes would be covered in blood.
- Clean the bathroom so well that no DNA evidence would be found. (There is evidence that someone was in that house cleaning up the crime scene within 11 hours of the bodies being found. Ranger Collins noted there was water in the bathroom sink and bathtub. Brandon had an air-tight alibi for this timeframe. This was not presented by ABC.)
- Hide the sword underneath a huge number of boxes.
- Change out the horse trailer truck.
- Ditch the gun somewhere to never be found.
There is no way that a trained assassin could do all of this in 14 minutes, let alone a 19-year-old kid.
It should be pointed out that Brandon was completely truthful about where he went that night. He did not hide anything from the Ranger. He said he went to have dinner with his parents, over to the Heath house, Denny’s to pick up Robert, Alex Rulli’s house, down to the club S4, back to Alex’s house, and then back to college. Every place he went was independently verified. The only thing he was off on was the times that he was at each place. The others provided timelines as well, and both Alex and Robert were off on their times by hours. Alex even brought in his phone records and was STILL off on his times. It’s disingenuous to believe that any 19-year-old kid would remember exact times he went certain places a week prior to the questioning. In fact, a huge reason Brandon was off on his times was because Robert and Alex told him the times that they hung out and were wrong. Brandon didn’t know, so he trusted them.
- Mike Etherington was ruled out as a suspect. It’s hard to be ruled out as a suspect when you are never considered a suspect in the first place. ABC did a good job showing that Mike had already been talking to investigators before Brandon and Charla were interviewed. However, what they didn’t tell you was all the lies and falsehoods that Mike was spreading about Brandon. The kittens that were referred to in the episode were rehomed by someone that came forward and informed investigators of this fact. Even though the investigators knew the kittens were safe, they still used Mike’s lie in the affidavit for arrest for Brandon. The American Justice Podcast goes in-depth for two whole episodes about Mike’s interview and the lies that he told. One thing ABC did not tell you is that Mike Etherington told the Ranger he was home asleep by 12:30am. However, Mike had made a phone call at 1:59 am that pinged off a cell tower within 3-5 miles of the murder scene. Mike was never questioned about this fact because the Ranger waited over six months to get the phone records. That’s six months after Brandon was already arrested. The fact of the matter is that Mike was never named as a suspect and was the one feeding lies to the Rangers about Brandon. ABC did not do an adequate job of informing the public about that.
- The Missing Gun – ABC did not inform the public that not only did Brandon have access to that gun, but Mike Etherington had more access to that gun. First, it should be pointed out that the missing gun was never forensically proven to be the murder weapon. In addition, Mike Etherington spent the night in that home unsupervised just the week before the murders. The one time that Brandon was there and had “access” to the gun, he was with his girlfriend, Morgan. This was a huge Colt .45 Replica gun, and would be impossible to smuggle out in the kind of tight jeans and shirts that Brandon wore without Morgan knowing. Mike Etherington however spent the night, and slept in the room right next to the gun room.
- The “Confrontation” – It was stated by ABC that Brandon’s parents were going to have a confrontation with Brandon about his homosexuality, his failing out of school, etc… It was not stated by ABC that multiple people in Brandon’s family had said (and testified) that Dennis already knew Brandon was gay. There was no confrontation needed. However, it would be improbably to believe that they would have a confrontation before Brandon left at 7:00pm, and then just stewed about it so much that he came back three hours later to murder them. If he was going to murder them because of that, it would have been during the confrontation. ABC was reckless in suggesting that this was a motive for murder.
- Charla – There is so much to say about Charla that it just needs to be listened to in the American Justice Podcast. The investigators were right in one sense, this crime was done by someone that hated Dennis. The psychiatric history and police records are a clear indication that Charla had huge problems with her dad. While we are not accusing Charla of murdering her parents, there are many questions about that relationship that still go unanswered.
There are many other errors in the program, but we do want to thank ABC for covering Brandon’s case and getting it mostly right. We understand that the time limit they have is very constrained and does not allow to get into the details of the case that it needs to explain the whole story. We urge anyone that wants to know all of the facts and all of the details of this case to listen to the first season of the American Justice Podcast.
Thank you. Helpful links are below.
Contact Brandon Woodruff via Jpay.com: Inmate # 1559439 or Snail Mail:
Brandon Woodruff #1559439
TDCJ Michael Unit
Tennessee Colony, TX 75886