Posted Aug 26, 2011 07:15 pm CDT
In the opening statement of the trial for murder suspect Jacob Brighton, defense attorney Marc Shiner told jurors Brighton’s parents “deserved to be shot; they deserved it, legally.”
Brighton, 20, faces two counts of first-degree murder and possible life in prison for the 2007 fatal shootings of Richard and Penny Brighton at the family’s home in Fort Pierce, Fla., reports the Treasure Coast Palm.
Shiner, who detailed allegations of long-term violence and molestation by Briton’s father and a knowing, blind-eye turned by his mother, said the shootings were the culmination of constant abuse.
“This young man is not guilty. The only thing he’s guilty of is protecting himself,” Shiner said, according to the publication.
However, assistant Florida State Attorney Steve Gosnell called the case one of “planned execution,” and noted that Brighton didn’t claim he’d been sexually abused by his father until nearly two years after his arrest, on his fourth visit with a defense-hired psychologist.
Although he is being tried as an adult, Brighton cannot be sentenced to death because he was a juvenile at the time of the killings.