Judges Grant Parole To Mother Who Killed Sons

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – An appeal panel has granted parole to a woman who has spent 25 years in prison for murdering her two sons, overturning a decision by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009 to keep her behind bars.

The Sacramento Court of Appeals ruled on July 8 that Darlene Brazil has made enough strides in therapy and in learning new trades that she is no longer a threat to society (.pdf), citing her vocational trading and volunteer work with children as evidence of her improving mental state.

Brazil was sentenced to two concurrent sentences of 15-years-to-life for suffocating her 4-year-old son B.J. with a pillow and then suffocating her 1-year-old son Brian on a pullout couch on May 20, 1986.

Brazil said she unsuccessfully attempted suicide after the killings because she wanted to be “all together in heaven” with her children. A confrontation with her ex-husband, who told her he was sleeping with another woman, tipped her over the edge and made her feel like she had no reason to live, she said.

A two-member parole panel ruled in 2009 that Brazil no longer showed signs of any mental illnesses and was no longer a threat to society, but Schwarzenegger reversed their decision later that year, calling the murders “especially atrocious” and expressing doubt that Brazil had been rehabilitated.

The appeals panel said recent psychiatric evaluations showed no signs of personality disorder and called her behavior in prison exemplary, saying Brazil has “taken advantage of every conceivable self-help program.”

The panel also took issue with Schwarzenegger’s description of the crime as “atrocious,” saying the murders cannot be described as “an especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel method of committing second degree murder,” according to the final ruling.

“Brazil used no weapon to commit the crimes. She did not shoot her children, beat them or torture them. She accomplished the killings in the most straightforward, direct way available,” the ruling stated.

Myrtle Norcom, the woman who discovered the horrifying aftermath of the 1986 murders, said she was stunned to learn that Brazil was granted parole and said she hasn’t served enough time.

“I couldn’t believe she did that to those babies,” Norcom said. “Even now it’s quite vivid in my mind, like it’s etched in there.”

Norcom said she still places Christmas ornaments every year in memory of the two boys.

If the parole board has no objections to the appeal panel’s ruling, Brazil will be released in less than 30 days.

  • Jeff Paulson

    Please try and understand people, the State of California does not have any “prisons” … in California we have “corrections facilities”. The liberal left saw to it years ago that we stop “punishing” societies offenders, and we simply “correct their behavior”, because of course “Punishment is bad. Correction is good.”

    What reporters and the public generally think of and refer to as “prison” are really “corrections facilities” … just read the signage posted in front of each and every one of them. It not “Folsom State Prison”, it’s Folsom State Correctional Facility”.

    The recent ruling of a judge to let prisoners go … this ruling … all have roots in the fact that we don’t have facilities for “punishing” people. Until California reinstates a “prison” system … this story will become the norm.

    • Skilled Ape

      You all have valid descriptions. I won’t get into how I can tell you. The current term of ‘correctional’ is politicaly correct. But that doesn’t mean it’s accurate. Seems more of a front to appease the rediculous “free ____” signholders that can’t seem to imagine what it’s like to be or have a loved one as a victim of a degenerate p.o.s. that should be put down.

    • Michael Evans

      You have no idea of what you are talking about. If you would bother actually looking into the STATED GOALS of the CDCR is NOT to rehabilitate or even attempt to ” correct ” someone’s behaviour. They are there strictly to house and punish inmates for their crimes. What is Pelican Bay about? Corcoran? 23 hour lock down THAT IS A PRISON not a correction anything. Heck, at Corcoran the guards have been KNOWN to use prisoners for target practice after enjoying the ” Gladiator Fights ” that the guards set up. Again PRISON not CORRECTION

      • Kim G

        I know someone who spent years in Corcoran, its not prison. Its a country club with an extended stay.

      • Jeff Paulson

        From the 2010-2015 Strategic Plan of the CDCR
        “A safer California through correctional excellence.” This new vision for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)

      • play13

        Dude your statement about correction is ridiculous. First off you sound like the rest of the people who are either uneducated about what realy goes on in a prison or have family serving time in prison that has fed you a bunch of B.S. . Prisons 30or 40 years ago were like that, but now its all about how much can we as society give these animals while the rest of us are the suckers who get up at the crack of dawn to go to work and pay are fair share of taxes. Also pelican bay and corcoran are not completely on lock down 23 hours status. Only the inmates with disciplinary issues that cannot program with the rest of the population go to the SHU or AdSeg unit were they are on lock down. So in reality you have know idea of what your talking about and you should educate yourself before you criticize somebody else.

  • Ginna

    Didn’t the parole board release Phillip Garrido with the notation that he showed no signs of mental issues and that he posed no risk to the general public? Sorry, I see no way a homicidal woman can suddenly became perfectly sane with no further chance of psychotic reactions later on in life.

    She murdered her kids because she felt she had nothing to live for when her baby daddy said he was sleeping with someone else. If she thought that was reason enough to kill her kids, she deserves to rot in jail. Parole? Please. I hope she reoffends quickly and goes in for life.

  • bb

    How sweet of this child murderer, to put an ornament up in remembering
    the two sons she killed. Its good I wasnt on her trial, she would get the same
    she did to her two innocent sons. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE JUSTICE????

    • James Rudd

      “Norcom said she still places Christmas ornaments every year in memory of the two boys.” NOT THE MOTHER.

    • heather thornbrue dingess

      It is the family she stayed with that discovered Bj and Brian that hang ornaments. This whole family and everyone involved are and will forever be haunted by this tragedy. I was married to the father of Bj and saw on a daily basis how he had been traumatized and repeated parole hearings for her to say it was his fault. She has never taken responsibility but instead has learned how to work the system. I hope she doesn’t reoffend but rather country justice gets her.

  • ted phillips

    Kill tghis story. You have run it for at least 3 days in an apparent attempt to inflame the public against this grant of parole properly upheld by the court. the grant of parol after 25 years for this woman is clearly the right thing to do however you look at it. Twenty five years is a very long time to serve for a woman who was clearly clinically insane, if not legally so, when she killed her children. Doesn’t Christianity teach redemption.
    A less important point is that taxpayers should not be charged the cost of keeping persons like her in prison indefinitely. Nearly all of our sentences in this state or draconian by most standards.

    • Skilled Ape

      Current judicial system isn’t based on christianity. The right thing to do was death by lethal injection 25 years ago.

  • ted

    ….”her volunteer work with children”…..


  • Vic

    Wow…I cannot believe she was able to communicate or even allowed to be around children as a volunteerl. I also love the ruling by the review panel that the murder was done in the most straightforward, direct way possible. Almost sounds sweet.The people on the panel…suck. So kill your kids with a gentle manner, be really good and do everything you are told and you too can get out of jail..she should never have had the privledge of even one breath for the past 25 years! But now she can live her life as an exemplary parolee to others. Trust me I don’t like paying taxes for all the benefits she has had during her term but I do not want her out either and would pay more to keep her in!

    • Skilled Ape

      Why pay for her to stay in? What happened to the death penalty?! We voted for it and they don’t use it near enough. This B should have been injected after conviction in the “straighforward direct way available”. I guess the sheer terror and horror those boys felt while they tried to fight their way to breath must not have been an issue for the ‘panel’.

      • vic

        Agreed Skilled Ape…I kinda wondered if we even had the Death Penalty anymore in California…was going to Goggle it. When was it used last? Curious…? I was raised in a Christian faith and get confused on the Thou shall not kill and an eye for an eye part. I have never commented before on a topic, this just made me sad and disheartened.

  • mary

    I cannot believe that anyone, even a politician can confidently say that “she used no weapons, therefore she she can be rehabilitated and has been.”
    This is one of the most egregious misinterpretations of “Justice.” Fine,let her watch your children, let her rehabilitated,not a threat to society self live next door toyour schools and homes.

  • chezstickz

    Apparently she didn’t try very hard attempting HER OWN suicide. And to say she didn’t torture those boys, she tortured them as she suffocated them. Maybe she didn’t torture them for days or months but she was torturing them as suffocated them. NO she should never be paroled. I sure wouldn’t want her volunteering anywhere near my children.

  • blank

    People who are unstable, please do not have children! Also, you are not GOD! You cannot take anyone’s life!

  • jackie

    Ummm I know someone I would like to smother(NOT A CHILD)all right, a pillow is not a weapon cool. Ya got an enemy get rid of him/her with a pillow it is not a weapon, now I HAVE heard everything.

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