Defense pleads for Walradt's life
June 11, 2008 · Updated 11:35 AM
"Brodie Walradt has a new girlfriend, if letters he allegedly sent a woman he met at Western State Hospital while underdoing psychiatric evaluation before trial are any indication.Walradt's defense attorneys say they aren't.He's in solitary confinement virtually with Brian Keith Lord (awaiting retrial for the alleged murder of a 16-year-old girl in 1987), Stephan Illa said after Walradt's sentencing hearing adjourned Wednesday. They're trying to use the letters to show (Walradt) doesn't have any remorse for a murder that happened two years before.The question they should be asking is how did this happen and if it did, co-counsel Eric Bauer said. And if they allowed him to have unfettered contact, how dangerous is he, anyway?Asked if he thought the letters were genuine, Illa said, I don't want to say.The letters came up as the penalty phase of Walradt's capital murder trial began Wednesday, Aug. 15. The jury that found him guilty of aggravated murder and manslaughter for the deaths of Beth Kennard and her unborn daughter, Alexis, must decide if Walradt should receive the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.Walradt's attorneys, in the quest for leniency and the later penalty, brought witnesses such as Pam Walradt, his stepmother, to talk about his abused childhood.They also called Chase Riveland, former secretary of the Washington Department of Corrections, as an expert witness to testify about what life in prison with no parole would be like.The letters came up when Kitsap County deputy prosecutor Michael Savage asked Joe Esterly, a private investigator working with the defense, about his observation that Walradt exhibited remorse.Esterly talked about poems and drawings the defense said Walradt made in jail to Beth about the life they should have had. One of the pencil drawings depicted a teddy bear and the baby's room as it should have been, Esterly said.One of the poems allegedly to Kennard addressed her as Princess.Is he referring to Beth Kennard or his new girlfriend? Savage asked Esterly.Superior Court Judge Leonard Costello sent the jury out of the room.Savage told the court Walradt had been corresponding since last February with a woman named Tammy he'd met while undergoing examination at Western State Hospital in Steilacoom.In the five letters submitted as evidence Walradt professed his love for Tammy, and refers to a sexual encounter at Western State, Savage said. He calls her over and over, 'Princess.'Savage said Esterly testified he witnessed remorse from pining for Beth Kennard, when in truth (Walradt) was pining for someone else.The judge barred Savage from using the letters and the incident with the other woman unless one of the witnesses made reference to them or her.Riveland testified Thursday about life in prison in an 80-square foot cell with bunk, toilet, sink and desk built into the wall. Riveland said inmates have visitors but in a controlled setting.Family visits, including conjugal or spouse visits, are not available to anyone who committed a violent offense, Riveland said.But they do have recreation privileges, an outdoor exercise yard, television, a library, law library, educational programs, jobs and wages, and a commissary in which to buy limited items.An inmate could use the money to buy a small TV, with earphones. The prisons also are wired for cable, and inmates have restricted access, Riveland noted to deputy prosecutor Neil Wachter's question.So an inmate could stay up most of the night watching TV on prime time? Reruns of old sitcoms? He could spend every evening watching 'The Dukes of Hazard' programming? Wachter asked.That would seem to be cruel and unusual punishment, but yes, Riveland said.Said Beth Kennard's mother, Carole, I never knew they could have that many rights in prison. It's ridiculous. "