FINALLY JUSTICE FOR KARLA BRADA!
Clarita Valley man found guilty in murder of girlfriend
September 18 2014 Jim Holt
A Santa Clarita Valley man whose girlfriend was found dead in their shared condominium in Saugus three years ago was found guilty of first-degree murder today, a San Fernando Superior Court jury found.
Eric Earle, whose defense included a claim that his girlfriend, Karla Brada, was on drugs and fell down the stairs the night of Aug. 31, 2011, was found guilty of her murder after a trial that took about a week.
The jury passed a note to the judge at 11:40 a.m. saying it had reached a verdict after a little more than two hours of deliberation.
Saugus Man Convicted of Girlfriend’s Murder
Uploaded: 6:50 pm, Thursday, Sep 18, 2014
The jury deliberated for about two hours before finding Eric Allen Earle (dob 5/27/71) guilty of killing his 31-year-old girlfriend, Karla Brada, two days before her birthday.
Sentencing for case PA072411 has been scheduled for Oct. 27 in Department N of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, San Fernando Branch.
Earle faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.
On Sept. 1, 2011, the victim was found dead inside her condo, which she shared with Earle. Evidence presented at trial showed she was asphyxiated after being beaten by the defendant during a violent argument.
Earle had assaulted the victim on prior occasions and had also beaten his ex-wife, according to trial testimony.
The assigned prosecutor is Deputy District Attorney Elena Abramson.
The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
From a previous KHTS story:
In the opening statements, Deputy District Attorney Elena Abramson described Earle as an abusive, controlling boyfriend who beat his girlfriend in an argument ending with Brada’s death Sept. 1, 2011.
Earle’s attorney, David Arredondo, said the pair engaged in their “bad conduct” – methadone, amphetamines and alcohol were found in Brada’s system at the time of her death — and Brada’s death was caused by a lethal amount of methadone in her system.
Abramson opened with a picture of Brada, noting the victim would have turned 35 on Sept. 3, the day before jurors were to get their notice for service.
In early 2011, Brada and Earle met in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting where both were struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. Within a few months, the two were living together in Brada’s two-bedroom condo in Saugus.
The relationship quickly turned violent, Abramson contended, explaining in her opening remarks how Earle allegedly isolated Brada from her friends, while manipulating her and physically abusing her.
Arredondo declined to say whether Earle would testify on his own behalf during the trial.
He said his client had no reason to kill Brada and that he loved her, Arredondo said.
“Much of the case here will depend upon expert testimony,” Arredondo said, but adding if the justice system relied on experts alone, there would be no need for the jury.
“The conclusion here is death by asphyxiation,” Arredondo said. “The problem here is that, there’s also methadone.”
San Fernando Superior Court jurors considered Earle’s guilt for about two and a half hours before they delivered a verdict of guilty of first-degree murder in the trial of the 43-year-old Saugus man.
Brada, 32, was found dead inside the couple’s Saugus condominium on the morning of Sept. 1, 2011. A medical examiner determined she died of asphyxiation.
Earle, who has been in custody on $1 million bail since his arrest on Jan. 25, 2012, faces a possible sentence of 25 years to life in prison, according to the District Attorney’s office.
Earle was arrested the same day Brada was found not breathing on the couple’s bed. However, deputies released him a few days later, saying they needed additional evidence to present the case to the District Attorney.
Deputies in Lomita re-arrested Earle in January 2012. In May 2012 a judge ruled there was enough evidence to hold him for trial.
Following eight days of testimony, jurors began deliberating at 9:15 a.m. Thursday. At 11:40 a.m., less than two and a half hours later, jurors handed a note to the judge saying they had reached a verdict, the court clerk said.
“We were so excited,” Brada’s mother, Jaroslava Mendez, told The Signal.
“We applauded the prosecutor (Deputy District Attorney Elena Abramson) and the jurors,” she said. “The jury was crying. I couldn’t believe it.”
For more than three years the Brada family has been waiting for the day Earle would be held accountable for taking Karla Brada’s life.
“I am so exhausted,” her mother said.
“I feel relieved. There was constant tension listening to all those lies,” she said, referring to Earle’s claim that Brada suffered her fatal injuries in a fall down the stairs.
“I actually walked out of the courtroom Wednesday because I couldn’t listen to any more,” she said. “We’ve been waiting three years and two weeks for this.”
Jurors herd testimony describing how Brada and Earle met at a Alcoholics Anonymous as each struggled with addiction.
They heard from Brada’s friends how Earle quickly moved to control his new girlfriend’s life and how the “charming man” she had fallen in love with transformed into an aggressive and abusive man when he was drunk.
In her closing address to the jury Wednesday, Abramson said: “He had to hold her neck and a pillow over her face for three to four minutes before she died.”
“Three to four minutes is a long time,” she said, noting “premeditation means you decided to kill before completing the act.”
“When you’re talking three to four minutes of mouth and neck compression, there is plenty of time to think about what you’re doing.”
Brada’s mother said the most painful part of the trial was looking at the battered body of her daughter in poster-sized photographs prepared by prosecutors.
“It was horrible,” she said. “It was the first time I had seen those photos. I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty, but it was exceptionally painful.”
Sentencing is set for Oct. 27.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt