Brody enters plea in murder case

Jason Mann

Jason Mann

A former SDSU student pleaded not guilty Sept. 4 to charges that he shot and killed his father.

Brandon Brody, 19, from Brookings, was indicted by a grand jury on Aug. 22 and bond was set at $1 million. During the arraignment at the Brookings County Courthouse, Brody’s attorney requested the bond be lowered, but the judge denied the motion.

Brody and friend Jon Rogness, 19, are accused of killing Brody’s father, Brian Brody, Sr., 47, on Aug. 9. Police say Brody, Sr., was shot to death in his home, the #74 trailer in Normandy Village. They later found Brody, Sr.’s, burned body near a public access to Oak Lake. According to Lt. Jeff Miller with the Brookings Police Department, DNA testing was required to confirm that the body found was that of Brody, Sr.

Paul McDowell, a mechanical engineering sophomore, attended Deubrook High School with both Brody and Rogness. McDowell says both were a lot of fun to be around and were the type of people other people wanted as friends.

“Everyone was in shock when they heard about it,” said McDowell. He said that a lot of students who knew both are still having trouble believing that Brody and Rogness have been arrested and don’t really want to talk about it.

McDowell says that neither Brody nor Rogness is the type of person the media is making them out to be.

“I want to let people know that this isn’t them. They’re not what the papers are making them out to be,” said McDowell. “They’re not sick people ? they’d give you the shirt off their backs if they thought you needed it more than they did.”

In a search warrant, police said Brian Brody, Jr., Brody’s brother, was the person who called police and said that Brody admitted to killing their father and that Rogness was involved. It states that Rogness told Brody, Jr., that Brody, Sr., started the incident.

The warrant lists evidence in the case, including blood found in the carpet of Brody, Sr.’s, trailer, a .22 shell in the driveway and blood on Brody’s shirt and pants. The police also found marijuana on Rogness at the time of the arrest.

Brody told police that the blood on his clothing was his own and that it came from a paper cut he received from opening a can of chew tobacco. The document also states that the stories police were given from Brody and Rogness didn’t match.

Brody would have been a sophomore this fall at SDSU. He was studying history education and criminal justice.

The trial was tentatively scheduled for sometime in December, but Clyde Calhoon, Brookings County state’s attorney, said the trial must occur before Feb. 8.

According to press reports, this would be the first murder trial in Brookings County in more than 10 years. At this point, it is unclear whether Brody and Rogness will be tried together or separately.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Brody and Rogness would face the possibility of the death penalty or life in prison. Calhoon hasn’t decided which sentence he will pursue.