'We're very, very grateful.' Brandon Roberts found guilty on all charges in Emily Todd's death; talks back as escorted from courtroom

Brandon Roberts was found guilty in the slaying of Emily Todd.

News 12 Staff

Apr 26, 2022, 3:12 PM

Updated 728 days ago


Emily Todd's family members gasped loudly as the jury foreman said "guilty." Then that word came three more times as the jury convicted Brandon Roberts of murder, felony murder, robbery and carrying a pistol without a permit. Todd's loved ones cried tears of relief as the verdict came down.
"We were terrified. You're terrified. You're at the mercy of a jury trial," Todd's mom, Jenn Lawlor, told News 12. "Emily deserved that word to be said, the only word to be said, and then it was said four times. So we're very, very grateful."
It's been more than three years since Lawlor's world was ripped apart. On Dec. 9, 2018, her daughter was found face down in the sand near the public boat ramp in Bridgeport with a single bullet to the back of her head. Police arrested Brandon Roberts, a man she'd met on a dating app. The two had a brief on-again off-again relationship before Todd ended it, but police said Roberts lured her into meeting him one last time.
"I had decided a long time ago that I didn't really think justice was possible. I've been focused on accountability," Lawlor said.
The chance for that began last week with the start of Roberts' trial, where the central issue wasn't if Roberts pulled the trigger but why. The prosecution told the court the motive was robbery. State's Attorney Joseph Corradino called this a carefully planned crime and cover-up. After killing Todd, police said Roberts stole her phone, car and ATM card and emptied her bank account.
Roberts was taken into custody in Ohio where police said he confessed to killing Todd.
But the defense argued Roberts was under extreme emotional distress at the time of the shooting due to the death of his mother the year before, the potential of being homeless, and his tumultuous time with Todd. Public defender Joseph Bruckmann asked the jury to find Roberts guilty of manslaughter rather than murder.
Jurors got the case Monday afternoon and spent two hours deliberating. They returned Tuesday morning, deliberating for a little over an hour before reaching a verdict. Roberts showed no emotion as it came down but took aim at Todd's mom as he left the courtroom. Lawlor said he was staring and smiling at her and trying to mouth something.
"Then when I started yelling that he was trying to talk to me, and the scene broke out and they ushered him out is when he actually lost his control enough to scream out loud 'I'm still alive.' It was disgusting," Lawlor told News 12.
Corradino said Roberts is facing a potential maximum of 90 years when he's sentenced June 24. Corradino told News 12 after the verdict, "The jury worked hard to reach the appropriate verdict in the case.” He thanked the Bridgeport Police Department Homicide Unit for their investigative work, mentioning Lt. Christopher LaMaine, Capt. Brian Fitzgerald, and the detectives on the case.
In January 2020, Roberts offered to plead guilty in exchange for 45 years in prison. The judge rejected that deal after Todd's family objected to it and pushed for a trial. 
"I think it's important for everyone to understand that the 45-year offer was developed by the person who killed my daughter and that's where the extreme reaction was from my family--that anyone was even discussing what he was willing to offer," Lawlor said. "It was just impossible to cooperate with that. We thought long and hard knowing that, you know, there's so many risks with trial and that it would be very painful, but as a family we also had to decide what we could live with."

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