Beard brothers sentenced in teens' double manslaughter
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- One of the most emotionally charged murder trials in recent memory came to a close Monday when a Fresno County judge sentenced two brothers on manslaughter convictions.
As their families asked a judge to give the Beards the maximum possible sentence, Justin Hesketh and Brandon Moore were memorialized all over again. In the end, their families got half of what they asked for.
The last picture Kenneth Moore took with his son Brandon is now part of the court record in the murder trial against Jarrad and Jerry Beard. It was taken at the Clovis Cemetery, the place Moore now calls his son's home.
Brandon's home is decorated for Christmas this year, but last year, he wasn't there yet. Killed on Dec. 20, he was still in a funeral home for the holidays.
"Christmas Day I spent in the parking lot of that funeral home because I didn't want him to be alone on Christmas," said the elder Moore.
At sentencing for the Beard brothers, Moore asked for the maximum punishment, calling his grief and that of Justin Hesketh's family indescribable.
"People have said that 'I could only imagine what you're going through,' he told Judge Denise Whitehead. "Your Honor, you can't unless you've lost a child. You know, there are 20 families in Connecticut that know what I'm going through right now."
Hesketh's family made a similar plea. His sister told the judge she lost her best confidant, a teenager with flaws, but one who didn't deserve to die. She blames the choices of the Beard brothers for the consequences she's now suffering.
"They chose to carry loaded, semi-automatic firearms for a simple walk to the gas station around the corner," said Shanna Hesketh. "They chose to shoot my brother's truck, to take aim, pull the trigger, and they chose to kill my baby brother."
Justin and Brandon were high on meth when Jarrad Beard fired on Hesketh's truck. They chased the Beards and got shot a total of seven times between them.
A jury decided the Beards acted in imperfect self-defense. They didn't commit murder, which means this picture won't be the last their family will see of them.
The judge gave Jarrad Beard the maximum sentence she could, calling him callous. His mother told me she feels like she also lost a son as a result, but she hopes the sentence brings closure for the victims' families and hers as well.
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