Guilty verdicts returned in Patrick Brooks murder trial
Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Seven children who have lost their mother and sister to violence will now lose their father to prison. A jury has convicted Patrick Brooks in the November murder of his wife and their daughter.
The bodies of Christine (Christie) Brooks and Victoria Brooks were discovered the day after Thanksgiving last year, on a day known as Black Friday, in a chilling coincidence. The prosecutor was emotional Friday as he said that day will now have new meaning for the surviving family and for the jury that delivered them justice.
"It is an immeasurable loss for a family and just a difficult double-murder to process," Bill Gargan said after the verdict.
Brooks was found guilty by a jury Wednesday afternoon of two counts of second-degree murder after he stabbed Christine and Victoria Brooks to death last November in the family's Wellington Avenue home.
During the trial, Christie was characterized as a hard-working mother who prepared a Thanksgiving meal for her family - including her estranged husband- then went off to work at Walmart without taking a bite. Victoria Brooks was home from Canisus College for the holiday.
"You have a breathtakingly wonderful woman who is a freshman at Canisus and has her whole life just about to start," said Gargan, who was reduced to tears. "And a mother who just worked so hard. It was all for nothing."
Evidence presented at trial showed Christie was stabbed 29 times as she slept. Victoria, who was sleeping on a futon in the same room, woke to the commotion and fought back as she was stabbed 55 times.
Investigators following a "ping" from one of the victims missing cell phones discovered it in a dumpster located on a nearby street. They kept digging and found what would later be called "the murder bag" - a plastic grocery bag filled with bloody clothing and a knife.
During deliberations, jurors examined that knife - six of them put on gloves and held it - to survey damage to the handle that prosecutors said left the murderer with cuts. It also left his blood at the scene.
Jurors delivered the verdicts at 12:30 Wednesday afternoon after deliberating about six hours over two days. "Guilty of count one- Murder in the Second Degree. Guilty of count two- Murder in the Second Degree," said Monroe County Judge Vincent DiNolfo.
Patrick Brooks showed little reaction to the verdicts that may send him to prison for the rest of his life. After the verdict defense attorneys declined comment.
"No I do not," Michael Doran replied in response to a request from 13 WHAM's Jane Flasch. Brooks was ordered held without bail until his sentencing December 20th.
Christie Brooks had filed for divorce in 2015 while her husband was serving time in prison. But prosecutors say at the Thanksgiving dinner last year, there was no hint of the violence to come. Patrick Brooks ate alongside his in-laws and played cards with his daughter Victoria. However another witness testified that he became miffed because the children did not want to visit him at the rooming house where he was currently living.
A grandmother is now raising Christie's seven surviving children, who range in age from 11 to 17. "If you could just fathom for a moment what they've gone through. it's just very difficult," said Gargan who again was brought to tears. "I haven't thought about it emotionally for a long time because you can't," he said explaining that he had a job to do.
Outside court, a family member who identified himself only as "Keith" summed it up this way
"The only thing that I see is that it's just been tragic - the whole thing, from all sides."