BELLEFONTE — Centre County Judge Bradley P. Lunsford characterized Randall Brooks’ actions throughout the case against him as “nothing more than delusional insanity,” before sentencing the man convicted on charges related to shooting his former girlfriend’s lover to a total of 37 to 77 years in state prison.
The sentence includes 20 to 40 years for attempted criminal homicide.
Brooks, 39, of Howard, was convicted by a jury in April on all charges related to the incident, including aggravated jury tampering, stalking and harassment.
He was sentenced on those charges Tuesday afternoon, after he asked for Lunsford’s consideration and “mercy” so he could try to rebuild his auto repair business and care for his two sons.
“I have learned the importance of family and I only want to spend time with my two sons,” he said of his time in jail. “I’m sorry I have to stand here today, in this honorable court, under these circumstances.”
The man he was convicted of shooting, Matthew Ross, also made a statement, saying the incident has changed his life and that the emotional damage is “far worse” than the physical.
Ross said he’s no longer able to participate in martial arts classes, a former passion, and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He said he stays awake for “days at a time” and holds a loaded gun, waiting for someone to come into his home and try to kill him.
“I hate leaving my house, actually,” he said. “Not one day goes by that I don’t feel afraid or nervous that someone’s out to get me.”
Ross said he wouldn’t wish what happened to him and his family on anyone, even Brooks, and said he hasn’t yet forgiven Brooks.
“Mercy has been mentioned quite a few times today,” Ross said. “I hope the court shows the mercy Randy showed to me.”
Brooks, who has served about two years in jail, will receive credit for 631 days on the attempted criminal homicide charge. He must pay more than $15,000 in restitution.
During his trial, prosecutors said Brooks was obsessed with his former girlfriend, spiraling out of control when she broke up with him in November 2009 and began dating Ross. Prosecutors said Brooks’ obsession led to his shooting Ross, and that he continued to contact the woman from jail, asking her to change her story and sending letters and text messages.
Brooks was charged three times with attempting to intimidate the woman out of helping police and, when that didn’t work, Brooks tried to influence a juror in a trial scheduled last year.
The woman was not in court Tuesday. District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said she had a work conflict.
Brooks also received the following sentences:
- Six to 12 years on various counts of intimidating a witness/victim.
- Two to four years for possession of an instrument used in a crime.
- One to two years for stalking.
- Three to six years for aggravated jury tampering, and two to four additional years for conspiracy to do so.
- One to two years for criminal solicitation to commit perjury.
- Seven years’ probation on stalking, harassment and criminal solicitation charges.
Parks Miller said her team is satisfied with the sentence and added in a later statement she hopes “that this brings the victims some measure of healing as Brooks has managed to drag this case out for the last two years by his actions of intimidation of witnesses and tampering with juries.”
Brooks represented himself during trial, but attorney Karen Muir represented him Tuesday, and she said he plans to appeal. She also said Ross has filed a civil suit against Brooks and his father.
Before the sentencing, Muir argued for Brooks’ motion for extraordinary relief, in which he asked for a new trial or dismissal of charges because he believed he did not get a fair trial due to prosecutorial misconduct.
Parks Miller objected, saying the sentencing was not an appropriate time for such a motion.
“This is supposed to be a day for the victims,” she said. “As a matter of law, he is guilty of these crimes.”
Muir countered that Brooks has the right to “make his pleas” to the court about to sentence him.
Lunsford said such issues should be litigated after the sentencing and denied the motion.
In her statements requesting a more lenient sentence for Brooks, Muir said he was doing well in his life, with a “great” relationship with his two sons and a letter of support from his ex-wife. She said he also had a reputation as a good mechanic. Brooks said during his statement that he would stay open until 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve to make sure a customer got back on the road.
Lunsford acknowledged that Brooks had a lot in life and said even he had heard of the man’s reputation as a mechanic.
“Why you would throw it all away with this infatuation with (the woman), your inability to control your emotion, your inability to accept the word ‘no,’ is beyond me,” Lunsford said. “Everything about this case was insane and I need to bring that to an end.”
Parks Miller called the case “extremely serious” and emphasized Brooks’ continued contact with the woman, despite repeated warnings.
“This is a dangerous man,” she said. “If he ever gets out, (the woman) should look over her shoulder.”
Jessica VanderKolk can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter