State sees 'adequate verdict' from Briskey jury; defense pleased client won't be executed

·2 min read

Jun. 23—Both the prosecution and the defense in the murder trial of Jeffrey Jamall Briskey said they found some satisfaction in a Calhoun County jury's decision Wednesday evening that the Anniston man was guilty of something less than capital murder.

The jury found Briskey guilty of the "lesser included" charge of "felony murder during a robbery of any degree" and "felony murder during a burglary of the 1st or 2nd degree" for the 2017 shooting deaths of Travis Frost, 73, and Joshua Dylan Moody, 23, at a home on Rabbittown road.

The jury reached its verdict around 7:30 Wednesday evening, approximately 4 hours after deliberation began.

A separate proceeding for sentencing will take place to determine Briskey's sentence, which Judge Debra Jones said would be scheduled at a later date. However, due to Briskey's prior felony offenses, District Attorney Brian McVeigh said his minimum sentence would be life without the possibility of parole.

"I've got to respect the jury's verdict," McVeigh said. "Because he has at least four priors — one of those is a class A felony — his minimum sentence is life without the possibility of parole which is one of the punishments we were hoping for anyway. I feel like that's an adequate verdict."

Defense attorney Fred Lawton said the defense team also considered the verdict a win.

"This man was facing the death sentence ten minutes ago," Lawton said. "Now he's no longer facing that, which is a huge relief to my client."

Lawton said the defense team had specialists, one flown up from Florida and one brought in from Birmingham, who were on standby to act as mitigators if Briskey had been convicted on the capital charges.

"I'm fixing to call them and say, 'you can go back to Florida,' and 'you can go back to Birmingham,' save the state a lot of money," Lawton said.

Lawton said to get a "lesser included" when facing three counts of capital murder is a "huge deal."

"I need to give my second chair, Mike [Askew], a lot of the credit, my whole legal team, my staff, our investigator Roy Bennett," Lawton said. "And God bless the jury."

Frost and Moody were beaten and shot to death after someone broke into their home on Rabbittown Roadjust before dawn on July 23, 2017. A vehicle stolen from the home, identified as Moody's Nissan Altima, was found abandoned and burned later that morning in Piedmont.

Briskey and co-actor Rhimington Johnson were initially charged in the case; Johnson has since pleaded guilty to murder.