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A New Orleans serial killer has admitted to murdering three additional women in the city as it grappled with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Joseph Brant, 51, pleaded guilty last week to three counts of first-degree murder, in a plea deal that spared him the death penalty, NOLA reports.
It was a conclusion to a years-long case that was marked by delays and courtroom disruption. Even as Brant entered his final plea last week he had an outburst in court, calling one of his attorneys "a f—ing two-legged dog,” SF Gate reports. The plea came three years after a 2018 confession in which he admitted to murdering three women in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged New Orleans. He confessed to killing a sex worker, who has never been publicly identified, in 2007 before killing Jody Johnson, 47 and Kirsten Brydum, 25, the following year.
He raped the first victim at knifepoint before choking her to death. He then poured gasoline on her body and set her on fire inside a car. Months later, in early 2008, Brant sexually assaulted Johnson, a former cheerleader from Georgia, at gunpoint. Then he shot her and set her body on fire. Months later, in the fall of 2008, he killed Brydum a San Francisco community activist, who was visiting the New Orleans while on a cross-country trip. He sexually assaulted her before shooting her in the head. Brant said he got into a car crash while en route to buy gasoline to burn her body, so he abandoned her on a street instead.
Brant was previously given a life sentence for the murder of a fourth woman, 32-year-old botanist Jessica Hawk, who he murdered in 2008 in her Bywater home. He took a plea deal in that case as well, admitting to second-degree murder in 2016.
The serial killer’s next court appearance is slated for June 1 where the families of Brydum and Johnson are expected to read victim impact statements.
“Me and my sister look alike,” Jana Wood, told NOLA of her plans to attend. “I want him to think he’s seeing a ghost. I just want him to know how much he took from me.”
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