Brazzell cried and shook during much of the hearing. She turned to Boggs’ family and read an apology letter while sobbing.
“This has completely destroyed me and I know you are glad that it has,” Brazzell told the family. “I know all of you hate me. I hate myself.”
Brazzell said Boggs was a good person and was her friend.
“I didn’t mean for this to happen. I am sorry and most of all, I am sorry J.R. for taking you away from everyone,” Brazzell said looking slightly upward.
Boggs’ family and friends protested outside the courthouse last month before Brazzell entered the plea for what they viewed as a lenient charge and punishment.
Before sentencing, the family crowded into the courtroom and several offered emotional victim impact statements.
Stephanie Gill Boggs, Boggs’ mother, said while crying: “This has destroyed my family … I am never going to be happy again because she took my baby away. She took my happiness away.”
Gill Boggs said she believes Brazzell did not tell the truth about the the shooting.
Two family member pointed to social media posts and videos of Brazzell hold guns, one take on the night Boggs was shot.
“It was no mistake. She is holding guns. She is used to having guns around and she knew the implications,” said Kimberly Murphy, Boggs’ great aunt.
Aerial Brazzell was sentened to 2.5 years in prison Thursday in Butler County Common Pleas Court after pleaded guilty to reckless homicide in the shooting death of Bennie Boggs Jr. Nick Graham/STAFF
Brazzell’s attorney Kara Blackney said in a sentencing motion that Brazzell has no criminal background as an adult or a juvenile and has shown remorse by taking responsibility for her actions.
“Miss Brazzell’s entire life and future has changed due to this horrible accident. She has suffered from depression, anxiety, ADD and PTSD for several years. The incident led to an aggravation of symptoms for which she is currently in therapy and taking medication,” Blackney wrote. “She is losing sleep due to memories from this incident and remains in her home most of the time. She cries every time Mr. Boggs’ name is brought up and is remorseful for causing his family and friends so much pain and sorrow.”
The defense attorney added, “incarceration is not necessary to protect the community, would punish Miss Brazzell to an overly extreme measure, and would stop rehabilitation that is currently taking place in her life.”
In a statement of facts from Assistant Prosecutor Jon Marshall, Boggs and Brazzell made plans via social media to socialize on the afternoon of Dec. 16. Photographs associated with the Boggs’ Facebook account show him already in possession of the Glock handgun with the green laser sighting.
Videos found on cellphones of people at the party showed Boggs with the Glock and Brazzell.
“The videos show the magazine is not in the firearm, and further shows people including the defendant pulling the trigger of the gun, with no gunshot resulting,” according to the statement of facts.
At 1:05 a.m. on Dec. 17 a cellphone video shows Boggs making the following statements: “I took the magazine out of my Glock. I don’t want to accidentally shoot it. There’s a bunch of kids in the house and I am drinking.”
Approximately 30 minutes later Brazzell came into the room, picked up the handgun and pulled the trigger, fatally wounding Boggs.
“In her statements to police, the defendant said she believed the gun was still unloaded as it had been earlier. However, she also admitted she did not do anything to verify her belief the gun was unloaded,” the statement of facts states.
A woman is charged with reckless homicide for the shooting death of Bennie Shaun Boggs this morning in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF