Howard man pleads no contest to jury tampering charge

The father of a Howard man serving 36 years in state prison for attempted homicide pleaded no contest Thursday for his role in a scheme to influence a juror in his son’s trial.

Daniel Brooks will serve one year of probation on a misdemeanor charge of criminal attempt to tamper with jurors, the Centre County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.

A jury found Brooks’ son, Randall Brooks, guilty in April on charges that he attempted to kill his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend in a drive-by shooting in December 2009.

Prosecutors said Randall Brooks, from behind bars, plotted to pay off a juror picked to hear the trial. He recruited his father, who went along with the plan. State police, however, uncovered the plot, and Daniel Brooks went on to testify against his son at his eventual trial.

“Any attempt to influence a juror is a strike at the heart of the foundations of justice,” District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said Thursday in a statement. “While this plan was thwarted by law enforcement and the defendant ultimately testified against the mastermind behind it, he must also be held accountable.

Prosecutors said Randall Brooks, after his arrest, recruited a fellow Centre County Correctional Facility inmate who was due to be released to pay off the juror. But the inmate instead went to police.

Daniel Brooks was to call the inmate to relay his son’s intentions, but when he did, it was actually an undercover state police trooper on the other end.

Prosecutors said Brooks also relayed messages to his son about the plot when visiting him in jail. When confronted by authorities, Daniel Brooks admitted to his involvement and agreed to testify against his son.

Randall Brooks was found guilty of 39 counts, including attempted criminal homicide, at a four-day trial. Prosecutors alleged Brooks, consumed with jealously, followed his ex-girlfriend’s new lover as the man drove to work, passed his vehicle and fired three blasts from a 12-gauge shotgun.

The man was hit once in the upper left arm, but survived, called 911 and testified at Brooks’ trial.

Centre County Judge Bradley Lunsford sentenced Brooks in July to serve 36 years and three months to 80 years in state prison.