Anthony Brasmeister pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder Tuesday for his role in killing two Amsterdam boys.
Before acting Montgomery County Court Judge Polly Hoye, the 17-year-old Amsterdam youth raised his shackled right hand and with a simple “yes ma’am” accepted a plea agreement for two concurrent prison terms of 25 years to life.
Brasmeister and 16-year-old Matt Phelps murdered Paul Damphier, 16, and Jonathan DeJesus, 13, in a soybean field behind Phelps’ residence on July 9, 2012.
Before Brasmeister arrived Tuesday, friends and family of the two victims filed into the courtroom. DeJesus’s three closest friends left school early to be there.
“We want justice,” said 15-year old Gregory Williams.
“Yes sir,” added Jadrion Figueroa. “Justice.”
April 17, 2013: Teen admits role in Montgomery County double homicide
Nearly a year after his friend’s death, Anfernee Valentin still seemed stunned by the whole ordeal.
“We were always chilling together,” he said, “like every day.”
Originally, Brasmeister and Phelps pleaded not guilty, but after reviewing the evidence against them, Phelps pleaded guilty April 17 and will receive two concurrent prison terms of 15 years to life.
Shortly after the murders, investigators said they believed Phelps to be the triggerman, shooting the two boys in the torso with a family member’s rifle taken from his home.
Even so, Brasmeister will receive a longer sentence because he is older than Phelps. Before the proceedings began and District Attorney James “Jed” Conboy laid out the terms of the plea, Williams said it was only right for Brasmeister to spend a very long time in prison, even if he hadn’t pulled the trigger.
“He was there,” he said, “and he was older, and he didn’t stop Phelps. If anything he should go away for longer.”
At 1:30 p.m., Brasmeister was led into the courtroom in white sneakers, an orange jumpsuit and heavy shackles securing his wrists to his waist. He shifted uneasily in the bulletproof vest under his jumpsuit. As Hoye read out the charges and the youth admitted his guilt, sobs rose audibly from the long courtroom benches.
Williams put his head in his hands.
The crowd filed out of the courthouse as Brasmeister started back to Montgomery County Jail in the back of a Sheriff’s Department transport van. Several men, apparently relatives of the victims, shouted obscenities as it rolled past.
DeJesus’s mother, Bridget Masesie, showed similar emotions, though she was more civil in expressing them.
Standing outside surrounded by journalists, she said the guilty plea didn’t bring her any closure.
“It’s honestly just hard to look at that boy,” she said. “Every day I’m waiting for my son to come home. He was the man of my house. Nothing will ever fill that hole.”
Hector DeJesus, Jonathan’s uncle, was at her side.
“I didn’t see any remorse in [Brasmeister’s] eyes,” he said, pointing out that even after 25 years in prison, Brasmeister will still have more life to live than either of his victims had experienced.
Phelps and Brasmeister will be sentenced in Montgomery County Court on July 11. Until then, Conboy refused to release any further information on motive or mechanics of the murders.