According to court documents Brad Sigmon would break into a home and beat to death the two residents, David Larke and Gladys Larke, with a baseball bat. Sigmon would rob the home before fleeing
Brad Sigmon would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
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SIGMON, BRAD KEITH (00006008)
Brad Sigmon Case
Sigmon and Rebecca “Becky” Larke were in an intimate relationship for approximately three years. They were living together in her trailer when she informed Sigmon she did not want to see him anymore. Becky’s parents, Gladys and David Larke, lived next door to them in a trailer on the same property. David also informed Sigmon that Becky wanted him to move out and served him with eviction papers, stating Sigmon had to leave within two weeks. Becky subsequently moved in with her parents. Sigmon believed she had begun a new relationship and although he pleaded with her to come back, she refused. Sigmon became increasingly obsessed with Becky, stalking her in an attempt to verify she was seeing another man.
About a week after Becky asked him to leave, Sigmon was drinking and smoking crack cocaine with his friend, Eugene Strube, in Becky’s trailer. At some point in the evening, Sigmon decided he would go to the Larkes’ home the following morning after Becky left to take her children to school and tie up Becky’s parents. When Becky returned home, Sigmon intended to kidnap her and disappear with her, but he did not want her parents to be able to call the authorities. Sigmon and Strube eventually ran out of crack and Strube fell asleep.
In the morning, after they saw Becky leave, Strube and Sigmon exited the trailer. However, Strube changed his mind about helping Sigmon and left. Sigmon grabbed a baseball bat from beneath his trailer and entered the Larkes’ trailer. Upon seeing Sigmon, David told his wife to bring him his gun, and Sigmon hit him in the back of the head several times with the bat. Sigmon then saw Gladys, ran after her into the living room, and hit her several times in the head. He returned to the kitchen where David lay and hit him several more times with the bat because he was still moving. He then went back to Gladys, saw that she was still moving, and hit her several more times.
Sigmon retrieved David’s gun and waited for Becky to return home. When Becky arrived, Sigmon brandished the gun, took her car keys, and forced her in her car. He intended to pick up his own car and drive to North Carolina with Becky. However, she managed to jump out of the car and tried to run away. Sigmon pulled over and chased after her, shooting her several times. When he realized he was out of bullets, he got back in her car and fled. Although Becky was injured, she survived the assault and told the witnesses who came to her aid that Sigmon told her he had either tied up or killed her parents. Police officers were dispatched to the Larkes’ home where the bodies were discovered.
A manhunt ensued and Sigmon was eventually captured in Gatlinburg, Tennessee after he called his mother, who was assisting the police in locating him. He was arrested without incident and taken into custody by the Gatlinburg police department where he confessed to murdering the Larkes and kidnapping and shooting Becky. He admitted that he intended to kill Becky and then kill himself. Officers from Greenville arrived to transfer him back to Greenville, but, at Sigmon’s request, they took his statement before leaving Tennessee. He again confessed to his crimes and stated his plan had been to kill Becky and himself.
Sigmon was indicted for two counts of murder; assault and battery with intent to kill; kidnapping and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime; first degree burglary; and grand larceny. The case proceeded to trial only on the murder and first degree burglary charges. Sigmon conceded guilt and presented no evidence in his defense. The State presented expert testimony that both of the Larkes died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, describing the severity of their wounds. Both sustained nine lacerations to the head, causing hemorrhaging and filling the sinuses with blood, so that they were breathing in blood as they died. It was estimated that both lived for three to five minutes before dying from their wounds. Additionally, both sustained defensive wounds to their forearms. The jury ultimately found Sigmon guilty.
During the penalty phase, the defense presented testimony regarding Sigmon’s mental state, such as his issues with childhood abandonment and neglect that affected the development of his social mores and overall judgment, as well as evidence of an extensive history of drug use stemming from his “recurrent major depressive disorder” or his “chemical dependency disorders.” Sigmon additionally presented evidence that he was adapting to prison life and that he was not a problematic or difficult prisoner. Sigmon testified he was sorry for the crimes and admitted he probably deserved to die.
The court charged the jury to consider three factors in aggravation: that two or more persons were killed, that the murder was committed during the commission of a burglary, and that the murder was committed with physical torture. It also charged the jury to consider four statutory mitigating circumstances: that the defendant had no prior history of criminal convictions involving the use of violence against another person; the murder was committed while the defendant was under the influence of emotional or mental disturbance; the capacity of the defendant to appreciate the criminality of his conduct, or conform his conduct to the law was substantially impaired; and the defendant was provoked by the victim. Although Sigmon requested a charge on the statutory mitigating circumstance of age or mentality, the judge declined to give that charge, noting mental state would be covered by the other mitigating circumstances he charged.
The jury ultimately sentenced Brad Sigmon to death