Luis Bracamontes, a 37-year-old man with a long criminal history, is facing the death penalty for the cold-blooded murder of two Sacramento Police Deputies in October 2014. At the opening of his murder trial on 16 January 2018, he laughed and swore at the judge, his own attorneys, and his victim’s families in repeated interruptions to proceedings. “I will break out soon and I will kill more, kill whoever gets in front of me … There’s no need for a f—— trial,” Bracamontes reportedly told the court.
The Sacramento Bee, who had been following the case since Bracamontes first hearings back in March 2016, had detailed the continued outbursts and ‘strange behaviour’ displayed in his court appearances.
As the judge ordered the jury out of the court after his first outbursts, Bracamontes told them, “I’m going to kill one of you motherf——-.” To the families of his victims, he yelled, “F— all the stupid cops and f— the families, too,” before shouting into the courtroom as he himself was removed, “More f—— cops are going to be killed – soon.”
On 24 October 2014, Bracamontes, who is a Mexican citizen in the United States illegally, and his American wife, 41-year-old Janelle Monroy, were in the parking lot at a Motel 6 near Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento, California. When Police Deputy Daniel Oliver approached their car he was shot in the head by Bracamontes when he asked for identification. The pair then went on to kill Police Deputy Michael Davis Jr, injure another Deputy, and shoot a motorist whose car they wanted to steal as they fled the area.
In a “day-long siege of violence” Bracamontes and his wife traveled over 40 miles before he locked himself inside a home in Auburn, California and turned on the gas, in an attempt, according to his attorneys, to take his own life and kill any police officers who entered the home after him. Surrounded by police, he did eventually surrender peacefully leading to his arrest.
Both Bracamontes and Monroy are facing judge Steve White at Sacramento Superior Court in a joint trial with a jury for each defendant. Luis Bracamontes has repeatedly confessed to the two murders and has asked to be executed in previous hearings.
On the first day of his trial, Bracamontes swore, laughed, and yelled out throughout the proceedings, telling the court he had no regrets murdering the police officers and he would do it again. His entirely flippant attitude towards his crimes and the court process which will decide his fate is considered by many to display how proud he is of his actions.
The Sacramento Bee reports Bracamontes wrote a suicide note before he was apprehended by police which read “Forgive me, God. Please take me with you. I love you Janelle.” This, along with blood test results after his arrest which highlighted high levels of methamphetamine in his system which his attorneys say most likely “made him paranoid and agitated”, are fueling their push to spare their client the death penalty.
His defense attorney, Jeffrey Barbour, has openly told the court there is no question that Luis Bracamontes is responsible for the murders of both police officers, however, he has presented that his client is mentally ill and should not be given the death penalty. “We believe Mr. Bracamontes’ outbursts, his laughter, are a function of his mental illness,” he told the court.
So far he has not been successful in convincing the judge that Bracamontes is mentally unfit for trial. Bracamontes was, he claimed, under the influences of substances at the time of the shootings and therefore not fully aware of his actions. Judge Steve White, however, dismissed the claims of Bracamontes incompetency to stand trial declaring his murder trial will continue.
In contrast to the behaviour of her husband, Janelle Monroy sat in court quietly without shackles as she listened to the proceedings. Monroy is accused of assisting her husband after he killed Deputy Oliver and throughout the getaway from the scene, although it has been stated by her own attorneys that she did not fire any weapons or kill either police officer.
She is being presented by her attorneys as a woman under the control of her domineering husband. “The evidence is going to show that this woman who loved this man and was married to him for years was stuck in a car with a crazy person,” they said, telling the court she had no choice but to follow and do what he told her. According to the prosecution, “They were in it together all along,” stating Monroy moved a weapon from one car to another aiding in their getaway and “40-mile rampage.”
The joint trial of Luis Bracamontes and his wife Janelle Monroy continues.