After more than a year and a half, a family has been given justice after their loved one was brutally murdered. On Monday, 21-year-old Eric Perez pled guilty to murdering Danny Brazeal, 40, back in August of 2010.
Perez is now sentenced to 50 years in prison with a chance at parole in 25 years, including time already spent in jail since his arrest in 2010.
Police records say Perez had gotten into an argument with his ex-girlfriend a few days before the murder. He then decided he was going to kill someone and went to Walmart to buy a hatchet. Not finding one, he bought a knife. He ran into Brazeal randomly after leaving the store.
At the time Brazeal was homeless and had asked for money to buy drugs. The records say Perez then went with Brazeal to drink whiskey. When the bottle was done, the two knelt down to pray. Immediately after, Perez proceeded to stab Brazeal multiple times in the back and chest.
Shortly after, Perez called 911 and said he had killed a man. Police found Brazeal in a secluded area near the Civic Center.
After the sentencing on Monday, Brazeal's family members took the stand to tell Perez face to face what he's done to their family.
"It feels like we were robbed," said Brazeal's cousin Tommy Williamson. "But there's one thing that can't be taken away and that's his memories."
When Danny's mother Patricia took the stand she had difficulty explaining her feelings. "I just don't know… I just don't know what to say to you," she kept saying while she shook her head.
For Danny's sister it was too hard to speak to Perez as she cried in the stands.
Perez is currently on medication for depression and was diagnosed as bipolar. During his time in jail he underwent a psychiatric evaluation, but a doctor ruled he was competent to stand trial. It's uncertain whether he was on medication at the time of the murder.
When Danny's mother spoke to Perez, she told him there was no hate in her heart toward him. She told him that Danny was Bi-polar as well and that he was working through his own problems. She told Perez she hopes he finds the help he needs.
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