Andrew Brannan And Kyle Dinkheller

Posted in GSU photo archive, Race, The Death Penalty by chamblee54 on January 10, 2015









On Tuesday, January 13, the State of Georgia is scheduled to execute Andrew Howard Brannan. He was convicted of the 1998 shooting of Laurens County Deputy Kyle Dinkheller. The embedded video leaves little doubt as to Mr. Brannan’s participation in the crime. However, there are those who say the sentence should be commuted to life in prison. A 2002 document from the Georgia Supreme Court tells the story of a traffic stop gone awry.
“Andrew Brannan left his mother’s house in Stockbridge, Georgia, to drive to his house in Laurens County in the afternoon of January 12, 1998.   He was driving his white pickup truck 98 miles per hour on Interstate 16 when Laurens County Deputy Sheriff Kyle Dinkheller clocked his speed with a radar gun.   Brannan exited the highway and stopped on a rural stretch of Whipple Crossing Road after the deputy caught up to him.   During the pursuit, Deputy Dinkheller activated a video camera which is aimed through his windshield.   The camera captured almost all of Brannan’s actions during the ensuing traffic stop.   Deputy Dinkheller also wore a microphone.   The deputy stopped his patrol car about 20 feet behind Brannan’s truck.   Brannan exited his truck and stood near the driver’s side door with his hands in his pockets. The right side of Deputy Dinkheller is visible on the tape as he stood next to his driver’s side door.

xdinkhell34-01Deputy Dinkheller said, “Driver, step back here to me.   Come on back here to me.”   Brannan said, “Okay,” but did not move.   The deputy said, “Come on back.   How are you doing today?”   Brannan said that he was okay and asked how the deputy was doing, but still did not move.   Deputy Dinkheller said he was good and repeated, “[C]ome on back here and keep your hands out of your pockets.”   Brannan asked why and the deputy again said, “Keep your hands out of your pockets, sir.”   Brannan responded, “Fuck you, Godamit, here I am.   Shoot my fucking ass.”   He then began dancing in the street, saying, “Here I am, here I am.”   The deputy ordered, “Come here.   Sir, come here,” but Brannan responded, “Shoot me.”
Deputy Dinkheller radioed for assistance on his belt-mounted radio, and the defendant stopped dancing and approached him.   The deputy said, “Sir, get back.”   Brannan replied, “Who are you calling, motherfucker?” and then rushed the deputy and a confrontation ensued to the left of the patrol car and off camera.   The deputy ordered Brannan to get back nine more times.   Brannan replied with “Fuck you” four times … “I am a goddam Vietnam combat veteran.”
Brannan then ran back to his truck and began rummaging around behind the driver’s seat.   Deputy Dinkheller remained beside his patrol car and ordered, “Sir, get out of the car.”   The right side of the deputy is briefly visible during this time.   The deputy had drawn his baton, but not his firearm.   Brannan replied that he was in fear of his life.   The deputy shouted, “I’m in fear of my life!   Get back here now!”   Brannan said, “No,” and then pulled a .30 caliber M 1 carbine from his truck.   The deputy radioed for help and shouted for him to put the gun down.   Instead, Brannan crouched by his open driver’s side door.   The deputy shouted for Brannan to put the gun down three more times.   Brannan opened fire and the deputy returned fire.
Deputy Dinkheller was hit and shouted, “Shoot, shoot, stop now!”   Brannan continued firing and advanced to the front of the patrol car.   The deputy apparently tried to take cover behind the patrol car.   Brannan exhausted one magazine, reloaded, and continued firing.   The microphone recorded the sounds of the deputy being shot. At trial, the medical examiner testified that by this time Deputy Dinkheller had been struck by at least nine bullets, in the arms, legs, buttocks, chest, and head.   The medical examiner opined that the deputy, although still breathing into the microphone, had lost consciousness because he was no longer returning fire or crying out when shot.   The video shows Brannan cease crouching, take careful aim with his carbine, say “Die, Fucker,” and fire one last shot.   Brannan then fled the scene in his truck.
Brannan was found hiding in the woods about 100 yards from his house, and he made incriminating statements after his arrest.   He had a gunshot wound to his abdomen.   The police found the murder weapon in his house. “ 
At his trial, Mr. Brannan pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. “Brannan had served as an first lieutenant and forward artillery observer in Vietnam near the Laotian border in 1970 and saw considerable combat, according to military records. He received a Bronze Star for meritorious service. Years later, he was rated 100% disabled with PTSD by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which also found him to be suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts and bipolar disorder.” “At the time of the murder, Mr. Brannan had not taken his medications regularly for at least five days. ”
One explanation offered by Mr. Brannan does not make him look rational. “Regarding his dancing during the altercation, Brannan explained to the police that he once defused a tense situation with an angry man by dancing and saying “shoot me.”   He also later told a psychiatrist that he had seen Mel Gibson act that way in the movie “Lethal Weapon.”
Before the trial, Mr. Brannan was examined by ” a Central State Hospital psychiatrist, Dr. Carter… Dr. Carter testified that Brannan was sane during the crime even though the defense presented evidence that he was not.”  
Mr. Brannan has other issues with the state. “In a lawsuit filed April 9, Brannan alleges he has been denied “proper and/or adequate treatment” for his mental health disorder and that the G.D.C. doesn’t have a system in place to treat death row inmates with mental health problems.
Brannan, 64, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 1984 following his combat in the Vietnam War, according to his 22-page handwritten court filing. He argues his mental health has “severely” declined while he’s been incarcerated due to a lack of treatment, medication and rehabilitation assistance. At times, his PTSD and bipolar disorder have caused him to become “manic” because of being locked up for 23 hours a day, Brannan contends.
Brannan alleges guards came in yelling during a “shake down” of his housing area Jan. 15 and he had a flashback to combat in Vietnam. He suffered a “psychotic breakdown,” yelling and screaming. Prison mental health workers allegedly agreed to take him to a quiet place, but minutes later, guards handcuffed him and told him to get on his knees. When he questioned the guards, they slammed him to the floor so hard that he defecated on himself.
Brannan alleges he was punched in the ribs, causing bruising and cracking. Despite a broken collarbone, Brannan contends he never received pain medication, according to the court filing.
Both Mr. Brannan and Deputy Dinkheller are white. Georgia seems to follow a pattern of executing a white man for every black man that is executed. The last two executions have been black men. In an ironic touch, during his appeals “Mr. Brannan contends that the State violated Batson v. Kentucky, … by discriminating on the basis of race during jury selection.”
Would Deputy Dinkheller have been faster to fire if Mr. Brannan had been black? There is no way of knowing. Seeing as how Deputy Dinkheller fired 33 shots, and only hit Mr. Brannan once, it might not have made any difference. That statistic is taken from this article, which discusses the mistakes made by Deputy Dinkheller. Another source says: “A few weeks prior to this incident Deputy Dinkheller had been verbally reprimanded by his superior for being “too quick” to draw his gun.”
The execution is scheduled for Tuesday, January 13. It is not known whether the compounding pharmacy used by the state has produced the fatal medication. In the last few executions, mystery drugs used by the state have worked well. Black and white pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. UPDATE Andrew Brannan was executed January 13, 2015. He died at 8:33 pm, with no reported complications from using mystery drugs.










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