Woman gets 34 years in brutal murder of Purple Heart veteran

The Washington state woman called a “danger to society” was sentenced to 34 years in prison for plotting to kill a 70-year-old Navy veteran – a two-time Purple Heart recipient – because she wanted to steal his valuable coin collection.

Brenda Nicholas was the “mastermind” behind the December 2011 stabbing death of Francis “Patrick” Fleming and carried out the murder with extreme brutality, according to deputy prosecutor Carla Carlstrom, the Seattle Times reported.


“The motive behind this murder was solely greed,” Carlstrom told Superior Court Judge Theresa Doyle during Nicholas’ sentencing for the death of Fleming , who was killed inside his unit at the Four Freedoms senior apartments in Seattle’s Bitter Lake neighborhood.

According to the paper, in addition to orchestrating Fleming’s murder, Nicholas tried to rob another elderly gentleman on the same day Fleming was killed. Nicholas was also charged with more than 50 criminal counts, including stealing $1 million from an elderly woman and stealing from three different landlords.

Defense attorney Jonathan said Nicholas was “a product of her environment,” and was “frankly, raised to steal, taught to steal.”

Nicholas cried through most of the hearing, telling Judge Doyle: “The boys are waiting for me, your honor” — referring to her sons.

Doyle seemed unmoved by Nicholas’ tears, according to the Seattle Times, and noted that Nicholas, now 42, wouldn’t be released until her 70s — “basically a life sentence,” she said.

“I think Ms. Nicholas is a danger to society,” the judge said, handing down the stiffest punishment she could — a little more than 34 years in prison.

Doyle said “the heartlessness, the coldbloodedness and the inhumanity” of Fleming’s murder was both striking and disturbing.

Click for the story from the Seattle Times.