JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Duval County judge sentenced two Jacksonville men to prison Friday after both pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges in the April 2016 execution-style shooting of their friend.
Lewis Rayshard Braclet, 25, received 25 years, and Brandon O’Neal Roundtree, 26, got 15 years in the shooting death of Keith Thompson, who was killed during a dispute over drugs and cash.
Both men faced up to life in prison for Thompson’s killing. But prosecutors sought more lenient sentences for them, citing their cooperation with authorities after their arrests, despite the risks they took by coming forward with information in the case.
Assistant State Attorney London Kite said the pair’s testimony against co-defendant Keith Dion Jackson, who was sentenced last month to life, dispelled Jackson’s argument that Thompson was killed in self-defense and helped piece together what happened.
Thompson, 23, was killed April 27, 2016, in the backyard of Braclet’s East Westbrook Circle home. Jackson, 27, Braclet and a third shooter, 24-year-old Chyon DeWayne Horne, opened fire while Roundtree blocked the gate in the fence to keep Thompson from leaving.
The Sheriff’s Office obtained a search warrant for the home and found surveillance cameras were recording when the shooting unfolded. Using still images from the video, detectives got witnesses to identify the men involved and issued murder warrants for them.
Police arrested Horne a week later in Jacksonville. The following week, a multi-agency task force captured Braclet, Jackson and Roundtree in Lexington County, South Carolina, where the trio had been staying with one of the men’s relatives.
Once in custody, Braclet and Roundtree began talking to police and implicating themselves in the crime, Kite said. In December 2016, Roundtree led detectives to a pond near the Blue Cypress Golf Club on University Boulevard where they recovered one of the guns used in the killing.
Braclet and Roundtree have been in protective custody at the Duval County jail, where Jackson, their co-defendant and a member of the Cut Throat Committee jail gang, is being held. Both testified they've been living in fear fueled by the death threats they've received for talking.
Cold case lead
Left unsaid in court was Braclet’s role in another high-profile case: a quadruple homicide in Murray Hill that has gone unsolved for more than four years. While the extent of his knowledge and involvement in the case remains unclear, Kite acknowledged his cooperation was significant.
Sisters Keshell Brown and Keyonna Brown, 21 and 22 years old, Gontrell Hagans, 27, and Derek Williams, 25, were killed in a shooting at a home on Randolph Road in November 2013. At the time, police did not release a motive behind the killings.
Though guarded in her responses to reporters’ questions Friday, Kite said she anticipated bringing that case to a close soon. She said Braclet offered information that was both “legitimate and credible as it relates to the other suspects.”
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