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Brinkley given death sentence


Grady Brinkley listens while the judge pronounces sentence.


Casting blame on all but himself, Grady Brinkley again refused to apologize for the murder of his ex-girlfriend before he was sentenced to death yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

“I didn't kill Shantae Smith,” Brinkley said in between taking shots at his defense attorneys, the prosecutors, the county jail, and an article about him published in Tuesday's Blade.

Judge James Jensen called Brinkley a predator of women before sentencing him to die April 4.

The appellate process almost surely will delay the execution date for years.

“You are a manipulative and very cold, calculating individual,” the judge told Brinkley. “You have a very cruel and vicious side to you. That's evidenced by the fact that after Shantae Smith was attempted to be strangled and her throat was cut, you spent some time in that apartment trying to access her [bank] account, and you spent some time in that apartment making calls to get out of town while she lay on the floor.”

According to a Lucas County deputy coroner who testified during Brinkley's jury trial, Ms. Smith may have been alive for as long as a half-hour before she died.

Ms. Smith, 18, was found in a pool of blood Jan. 8, 2000, on the floor of her Collingwood Boulevard apartment.

A jury found Brinkley, 34, guilty of the murder last week and deliberated for just 30 minutes Monday before deciding to recommend the death penalty.

Brinkley was defiant in the courtroom yesterday. He railed against a Blade article because it pointed out that he showed no contrition for Ms. Smith's murder, but didn't mention that he apologized for robbing Rick's City Diner and sticking a loaded handgun in a waitress' face. Judge Jensen sentenced him yesterday to 13 years for that crime, which happened Nov. 6, 1999, at 4204 Monroe St.

He criticized his attorneys, saying: “The job they did, I could have did in my sleep.” Merle Dech and John Thebes were appointed by Judge Jensen after the first pair of attorneys left the case because they were unable to work with Brinkley.

After he was sentenced and was being led away by sheriff's deputies, he made an obscene comment to assistant county prosecutors Tim Braun and J. Christopher Anderson.

“It shows what kind of character he really is,” Mr. Anderson said. “Him saying that really didn't affect us - it just shows we got to him.”

After the hearing, Theresa Woods, Ms. Smith's mother, said she was not surprised Brinkley would not apologize to her family. “I wouldn't have accepted his apology even if he had,” Ms. Woods said.

Ms. Woods' daughter wasn't the first woman Brinkley acted violently toward. In 1984, he was arrested at age 16 for rape and deviant sexual conduct in Chicago. Those charges led to a 12-year prison sentence for criminal sexual assault with force, records show.

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