|John Brooks, left, looked at the family of murder victim Jack Reid before being sentenced yesterday in Brentwood, N.H. At right, Reid's son, Jack Reid Jr., cried during the sentencing. (AP Photos/Cheryl Senter)|
Victim's family confronts his killer in N.H. court
BRENTWOOD, N.H. - Less than one day after a jury spared him the death penalty, millionaire John Brooks faced the family of the man he was convicted of murdering as he was officially sentenced to life imprisonment.
Because he was convicted of two counts of capital murder - one involving kidnapping - Brooks, 56, of Las Vegas, will serve two life sentences without the possibility of parole. Brooks was convicted last month of killing Jack Reid in June 2005.
Reid's family addressed Brooks directly during his sentencing hearing yesterday. They didn't hold back.
"To the coward that murdered my daddy: I hate you," said Reid's daughter, Megan.
She told Brooks that her father had talked about him fondly, referring to him as a successful inventor.
"He admired you and look what you did to him. You're disgusting," she said.
Three of Reid's children and the mother of his two youngest children, Virginia Filippone, adamantly denied accusations that Reid, 57, of Derry, stole from Brooks or was stalking him.
"When you said nobody would miss him, you were wrong," Filippone said. "There is no excuse for what you did to Jack, none whatsoever. May Jack rest in peace and may you rot in jail."
Brooks believed Reid had stolen his personal belongings during a move in 2003. He and three associates he hired allegedly lured Reid to a barn in Deerfield and beat him to death with a sledgehammer. Two of the men who helped him - Joseph Vrooman and Michael Benton - have pleaded guilty and testified against Brooks.
Jaye Klos, another daughter of Reid, told Brooks he not only hurt her family but caused damage to his own family, as well. Although his lawyers presented him as a business success, a musician, and the victim of family violence as a child, she said she will always see him as a cold-blooded killer.
"There were enough aggravating factors versus mitigating factors to sentence you to death, and unfortunately some of the jurors couldn't come to terms with putting you to death," said Klos. "I accept their verdict and understand how some of them possibly couldn't kill like you did."
Reid's children told Brooks their father was a loving man who, though he didn't have much, hoped to retire soon when he was killed. They spoke of the strength their father instilled in them and how it has helped them cope with the trial.
"Today, we hold our head high, as we have throughout the whole ordeal, because that is what our father would expect of his children," said Klos.
Although the jury's decision to spare Brooks could not be changed by the judge, the sentencing hearing was a chance for the family and Judge Robert Lynn to speak to Brooks. The defense, which has maintained that Brooks did not intend for Reid to be killed, was asked if they had anything to add; they said no. Brooks himself did not address the court.
Lynn rebuked Brooks in a harsh sentencing statement.
"After probably a year of being involved in this case, it's clear to me this was literally a monstrous crime in its level of evilness and premeditation and in its senselessness," said Lynn. "For what? For what did this all happen? For your ego. That's what it appears."