Man Sentenced 40 Years After Murder, Rape Of Victim


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A Maryland man has been brought to justice after 40 years, as DNA evidence linked him to the murder and rape of mother of four in 1982.

Howard Jackson Bradberry Jr., 64, was sentenced to 25 years in prison Thursday for the murder and rape of 28-year old Laney Lee McGadney after DNA analysis on items left at the crime scene linked Bradberry to the crime, a press release from the Howard County State Attorney’s office stated.

McGadney left her apartment in Columbia to walk to a grocery store in March 1982 when witnesses say she was abducted near the Owen Brown Village Center. Hours later, McGadney’s raped and stabbed body was discovered in a vacant lot, according to the press release.

Investigators at the time worked to discover who committed the crime, but were unable to find the person responsible for killing the mother of four. In 2021, that changed when DNA analysis of the evidence collected in 1982 provided police with a new lead in the cold case. (RELATED: Suspect Charged In ‘Cold-Hearted’ Murder Nearly 40 Years Later)

Bradberry was arrested in May 2021 and charged with one count each of first- and second-degree murder; first- and second-degree rape; and one count of kidnapping, per a press release from Howard County.  Bradberry entered an Alford plea in July 2022 to a charge of second-degree murder, State Attorney’s office stated.

An Alford plea acknowledges the prosecution has enough evidence to convict but allows a defendant to maintain his or her innocence, Fox News stated.

“The brutal murder of Laney Lee McGadney fractured her family beyond repair and for 40 years there were very little leads in the case with no one being held responsible for her senseless killing,” said State’s Attorney Rich Gibson. “I want to thank Howard County police and our prosecutors for working so diligently on this case. We know today’s sentencing cannot bring back the matriarch of this family, but we do hope it provides some much-needed closure for her 4 kids, 22 grandchildren and 4 great- grandchildren knowing Bradberry will spend the rest of his life in prison for the innocent life he took and heinous crime he committed,” Gibson continued per the press release.