NOTE: This story is submitted by a contributor. We cannot verify the truthfulness of such stories. The points of view expressed within stories provided by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of The Injustice Line or its operators.




The Brandon Hein Story

3 Youths Get Life in Prison for Witnessing a Crime

Featured as "Lynching in Malibu" in Rolling Stone Magazine



WHAT HAPPENED - SUMMARY



On August 21, 1996, Brandon Hein was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.



THE DEFENDANTS

Jason Holland, Micah Holland, Brandon Hein, Tony Milotti, Chris Velardo

THE VICTIMS

Mike McLoren, Jimmy Farris



On May 22, 1995, Brandon and 4 other teenagers went to the backyard clubhouse of Mike McLoren (it was known as the "fort"). Mike, also a teenager, was known to sell marijuana out of the fort where he and his friends hung out most of the time. Mike's best friend and frequent companion was Jimmy Farris, an LAPD officer's son who hung out at the fort.


Before they arrived at the fort Jason, Micah, Brandon, Tony, and Chris drank a large quantity of hard liquor. Mike McLoren drank beer and smoked a large quantity of marijuana.

Everyone who testified in court agreed that what happened next took approximately 60 seconds.


Micah Holland, was the youngest of the guys that Brandon was with that day. He was 15 years old and he entered the fort (a dark, small, homemade structure) first. As the others entered, a fight was already in progress between Micah and Mike McLoren. The others didn't know why. Mike was much bigger than Micah and had him in a headlock. Jason, Micah's brother worked to separate them and was kicked in the face. In the heat of the battle he pulled a 2" pocketknife and poked Mike McLoren with it (verified by the injuries Mike received). Then he stabbed Mike McLoren. Mike's friend, Jimmy Farris, swung Jason around and Jason stabbed him too.



WHERE WERE THE OTHERS?


Brandon
was in the fist fight though he didn't know who was swinging or why.

Tony Millioti
was thought to be standing in the doorway.

Chris Vellardo
was sitting in the truck.



Mike McLoren and Jimmy Farris, now both injured, ran to the house. As testified by medical experts, the bleeding was internal. Jimmy died from his wounds. Jason, Micah, Brandon, and Tony were seen by witnesses walking from the yard to the truck.

Nothing was taken.

Jason later admitted to his friends that he stabbed Mike and Jimmy. They didn't believe him. On the witness stand he took full responsibility for what he had done.



WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Brandon Hein
Salinas Valley State Prison, Sentenced to Life in Prison without Possibility of Parole
Jason Holland
Salinas Valley State Prison, Sentenced to Life in Prison without Possibility of Parole
Tony Miliotti
Salinas Valley State Prison, Sentenced to Life in Prison without Possibility of Parole
Micah Holland
who was 15 at the time, California Youth Authority, Sentenced to 25 Years to Life
Chris Vellardo
17 at the time this happened, who plea bargained to attempted robbery in return for a sentence of 15 years has had his sentence reduced more than once and will now serve 4 years in the California Youth Authority.[Brandon was offered a "deal" by the DA, but since he was innocent refused to plead guilty to a crime he didn't commit. As a result he is doing Life Without Possibility of Parole.]

Mike McLoren
the owner of the "fort" and teen drug dealer who received immunity from prosecution in return for his testimony, emerged as the DA's hero in this case. The "fort" where Jimmy Farris was killed continued to stand for 2 years. It was finally taken down in August 1997.



Geraldo Rivera said about this case:

"What about justice? . . . This sentence is cruel and vindictive . . . No purpose is served by sending these kids away forever. They were stupid. They made the mistake of their lives. But they don't deserve to be sentenced to living death . . ."

Randall Sullivan, author of "Lynching in Malibu," said about this case:

"This story ["Lynching in Malibu"] is as much about the community where it took place, and communities like it all over the country as it is about seven boys in a back-yard brawl. The incident was local - the issue is national."

Dave Wiernicki, writing to Rolling Stone Magazine, said:

"I just finished Randall Sullivan's 'Lynching in Malibu', a few minutes ago. I'm still shaking...Any jury that can hear the evidence shown in this case and respond by destroying lives this brutally, and any judge that can uphold and reinforce that decision, deserves prison much more than any of the defendants"




See Rolling Stone Magazine, September 4, 1997.
Visit the Brandon Hein website.
Return to The Injustice Line.