By Julie Montanaro
June 12, 2014
A Tallahassee woman and admitted member of the Bloods street gang took the stand and said she killed in self defense.
It took a jury just over an hour to find her not guilty of murder. It did find her guilty of possession of a firearm by a delinquent.
"There was a lot of evidence against her. There was a confession, DNA and ballistics and witnesses and all that kind of stuff, but at the end of the day the state's evidence couldn't exclude her defense, which was self defense," Blanc's attorney Nathan Prince said afterward.
We have exclusive video of Valerie Blanc's testimony.
Blanc is accused if shooting and killing Brandon Bradwell on Lake Avenue in June 2012.
Blanc says Bradwell was a high ranking member of a rival gang.
She claims she bought a gun the day before the shooting because she heard the Crips had put a "price tag" on her head.
Blanc testified that in the seconds before the shooting, Bradwell and his friend grabbed her and tried to rip a backpack full of marijuana off her back.
"I tussled back with him," Blanc testified. "I push him. The strap pops. When the strap pops I get free, I grabbed the gun."
And do what?
"I push him off and I shoot."
What did you do at that point? defense attorney Nathan Prince asked.
"I shot again."
"Why did you shoot again?"
"I was scared," Blanc said.
Blanc says Bradwell had reached behind his back and that's what prompted her to shoot.
Prosecutors spread out Bradwell's bloody t-shirt and basketball shorts on the floor of the courtroom and asked where Bradwell could have hidden a gun.
Bradwell's family members were shocked and devastated by the not guilty verdict.
"The verdict that they gave today gave the young people the idea that they can just go out and kill people and it's alright," Bradwell's grandmother Delores Wynn said afterward.
"She was a coward, that's what she was. She waited until he laid down on the ground to execute him and that's what she did and that is murder," said Bradwell's sister Zenani Houston.
By Julie Montanaro
June 11, 2014
The accused trigger man in a Tallahassee murder - is actually an accused trigger woman.
Valerie Blanc is now on trial and testimony in court today painted a vivid and violent picture of the gang rivalry that may have caused it.
Valerie Blanc is accused of pulling the trigger that afternoon in June of 2012.
Brandon Bradwell, witnesses say, had a blue bandana in his pocket and she had a red one.
Bradwell's friend was there. She testified Blanc told Bradwell Lake Avenue was her turf and pointed a 45 right at him.
"Ain't nobody scared of your little gun. That was all he said," the friend testified. "She shot him ... she shot him again then as she was taking off running."
The friend held Bradwell as he lay dying. You can hear her trying to talk to him as she called the 911 operator,
"He was shot in the chest area?" the operator asked.
"You good? You with me?" you can hear her saying to Bradwell in the background.
Bradwell's girlfriend at the time saw it happen too. She admits Bradwell was a member of a gang called the Crips.
A recorded statement she made to police was played on the big screen in court. She told officers Bradwell had met with other Crips to talk earlier in the day.
"He had been hearing about all this beef and all about these new bloods moving over here," she said in the video.
She told investigators Bradwell wasn't expecting this (the confrontation) to happen, or he "would have had his fire." She testified Bradwell did not have any weapons with him when he was killed.
Another woman testified that she picked up Valerie Blanc at a motel after the shooting and brought her to her house.
"... normal. She was calm," she said.
She says police eventually showed up and searched her home and her car.
"I opened the trunk and was proceeding to get him that bag that she had in the car and he was like 'No, don't touch anything' and then he reached over there and went in there and pulled out the gun out of the bag."
Officers testified that gun was loaded and hidden inside a bag with Barbie on the front.
We did not show the faces of the eyewitnesses who testified because prosecutors tell us their lives could be in danger.
The state rested its case this afternoon.
We'll let you know what happens in court tomorrow.
By: Lanetra Bennett
February 13, 2013
Tallahassee, FL - Valerie Blanc had a court hearing this morning. She is charged with first degree murder and is facing the death penalty.
Blanc's attorney told the judge that there are "many, many" witnesses in this case. He says he'll have to do more than 20 depositions.
The court scheduled a case management hearing for May 15th. The judge will get an update on the status of the case and the witness depositions at that time.
The trial is expected to begin in November.
By: Eyewitness News
October 24, 2012
Tallahassee, FL - Blanc's motion hearing has been rescheduled for February 13, 2013.
Tallahassee, FL - Valerie Blanc is appearing in court today. The state is expected to announce that it will be seeking the death penalty against Blanc in the murder of Brandon Bradwell. Blanc is a documented gang member.
WCTV will bring you more information as it becomes available.
UPDATED 6.20.2012 by Julie Montanaro 7pm
The trigger man in a Tallahassee murder turned out to be a trigger woman.
Valerie Blanc was arrested and accused of killing Brandon Bradwell in what police call a "turf" dispute.
Brandon Bradwell was shot twice in the driveway of a Lake Avenue home on Monday.
Witnesses say a woman shot Bradwell once and he fell to the ground, then stood over him and fired again.
Tallahassee Police say 22 year old Valerie Blanc is the one who pulled the trigger. Folks in the neighborhood call her "Juvie."
"I don't know what the circumstances were, but I'm pretty positive it wasn't worth somebody losing their life over," said Shawn Booker who works nearby. "I know there's two little girls out there whose father is never going to take them to McDonalds. It's a sad thing."
Bradwell - a former student at Rickards and TCC - died at the hospital Monday night.
Witnesses told police Bradwell was arguing with Blanc and another man when Blanc pulled a gun from her waistband and started shooting.
"Any indication what the motive for the shooting was?"
"It appears to be over what is called a turf and we can only assume that there is gang related activity ... people working against each other," said TPD Spokesman David Northway.
Tallahassee Police arrested Blanc at the Stratford Landing Apartment complex on Mission Road.
U.S. Marshals say she is a documented gang member who surrendered only after they set off a flash bang at her doorstep.
Blanc is being held without bond at the Leon County Jail.
Court records show she is also wanted down in Palm Beach County.
We are still trying to find out why. We have not yet heard back from the state attorney's office there.
UPDATE: June 20th 2012
After interviewing several witnesses, probable cause was developed for Valerie F. Blanc. On June 19th, TPD along with the Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force located Ms. Blanc at 2616 Mission Road in apartment 173 where she was taken into custody and transported to the Leon County Jail for processing.
Valerie F. Blanc
A copy of the probable cause can be found below
UPDATED 6.19.2012 by Julie Montanaro
27 year old Brandon Bradwell was shot in the driveway of a home on Lake Avenue Monday night.
Neighbors fear for their children's safety and are anxious for an arrest.
"It's bad, you know. I have young kids and like I said I had just dropped my baby off and I couldn't even come down my street," neighbor Jerry Rouse said.
Neighbors say the street was blocked off for hours Monday night as police collected evidence and took pictures.
Tallahassee Police are not commenting yet on who may have shot him or why. Police are not releasing any suspect or vehicle descriptions right now either.
We've confirmed that Bradwell used to attend classes at Rickards High School and later at Tallahassee Community College.
This is Tallahassee's seventh murder in 2012.
June 19, 2012 -- Noon
Tallahassee Police Department Release:
On June 18th the Tallahassee Police Department responded to 1610 Lake Avenue in reference to a male who appeared to be shot. Upon arrival, Officers located a black male in the driveway of 1610 Lake Avenue suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. The male
was later identified as Brandon Bradwell, a black male with a date of birth of 2/7/85. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment where he succumbed to his injuries.
TPD's Criminal Investigation Division, along with Forensics Technicians responded to the scene and assumed the primary role in the investigation. TPD investigators are attempting to identify the suspect in this case. Community members with information about this case are asked to call TPD at 891-4200 or the Big Bend Crime
Stoppers at 574-TIPS. Crime Stoppers does not want your name, just your information and you may be eligible for a cash reward.
Please remember, if you see something, say something, do something.
June 18, 2012 -- 11:01 p.m.
Just after 7:30pm on June 18th, Tallahassee police responded to a shooting in the 1600 block of Lake Avenue where a man was suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. The unnamed male received treatment before being taken to a local hospital. His condition is unknown at this time. Officials aren't releasing the motive or description of the suspect.
"The officers are canvassing the neighborhood speaking with the different people that live in the neighborhood and obviously any information they gather will be funneled through to the investigators who are on scene working the crime scene," TPD officer David Northway told members of the media Monday night.
Tallahassee Police say they were called to the 1600 block of Lake Avenue earlier tonight. When officers arrived they found a male victim of an apparent gun shot wound. The unidentified victim was taken to TMH for treatment. Police say they have no suspects at this time, but are currently interviewing residents. We will bring you more information on this developing story as it becomes available.