The man who killed two Wiggins police officers will spend the rest of his life in prison. However, the family of one of those officers says the punishment just doesn't fit the crime. Monday night, Ronald Husband was sentenced to life without parole for the 2005 shooting deaths of officers Brandon Breland and Odell Fite. Husband could have received the death penalty for the crimes.
Brandon Breland was just 23-years-old when he was murdered. His parents, Douglas and Charlotte, say they are relived that after more than two years the trial is over. However, they're not satisfied with the outcome and they say they'll never be able to move on with their lives.
Douglas and Charlotte Breland call it their wall of fame. It's a showcase of the medals and honors their son Brandon received as a police officer, a career they say had been his dream since childhood.
Charlotte Breland said, "He thought everybody was equal. It was a calling to him."
The Brelands sat through the entire trial of Ronald Husband, the man charged with killing their son and Odell Fite, another Wiggins police officer. The Brelands say listening to the five days of testimony was mentally exhausting, but waiting six hours for the verdicts was even worse.
"Those were horrible," said Charlotte. "That was the worst wait you could have ever waited. When they came with that knock and they read it, we were crying. We were crying for joy. We knew we had one thing behind us. We had one more to go."
Two days later, the jury sentenced Husband to life in prison, sparing his life.
"The sentencing phase, we thought, was not justice. Our son is gone. We'll never get to see him again. This man [Husband] basically means nothing to society and can't contribute to society, so what's the point of feeding him the rest of his life," Douglas Breland said.
"I never believed in the death penalty until now," Charlotte Breland said.
The Brelands often visit Brandon's grave. They say if people stop taking law enforcement for granted, then something good can come from their grief.
Charlotte said, "We need to support our police officers more. We need to give them what they need, but we need to instill values in our children. The values that life is important. That you work for what you want. The loss of a child is more than a parent can bear especially in a brutal crime like this."
We also spoke with Wiggins Police Chief Buddy Bell who said the capital murder convictions give relief and closure to him and his staff. As for Ronald Husband not getting the death penalty, the chief says it's a decision he thinks is unfair, but that he can live with.