BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Mention the name Vincent Brothers and you may get a stunned look or a shudder in return.
Eighteen years after he murdered his wife, mother-in-law and three of his children, Brothers remains a subject of interest — and revulsion — both in Kern County and nationwide. His deeds cast a long shadow in the annals of Bakersfield crime.
In December 2021, Oxygen.com ran a story on his case. It focused on how insect evidence on a rental car used by Brothers poked holes through his claim that he wasn’t in Bakersfield at the time of the slayings.
And on Jan. 7, the state Supreme Court granted Brothers an extension to March 8 to file a supplemental opening brief for his appeal. We haven’t heard the last of him.
In 2007, Brothers’ trial drew national attention due to his standing in the community as an educator, the number of people killed and the sheer brutality of the crime. The youngest victim was only weeks old.
Brothers was the well-liked vice principal of Fremont Elementary School when his wife, Joanie, 39, sons Marques, 4, and Marshall, 6 weeks, daughter Lyndsey, 2, and mother-in-law, Earnestine Harper, 70, were fatally shot or stabbed July 6, 2003.
Brothers claimed he was in Ohio when the killings occurred but had no receipts or other paperwork to prove it. The Dodge Neon he rented received close scrutiny.
Expert witnesses testified insect remains found on the car’s radiator were only found in the Western U.S., damaging Brothers assertion he didn’t travel by car between Ohio and California.
Prosecutors argued he flew to Ohio, rented the car and drove it to Bakersfield. He then killed his family before returning to Ohio.
Prosecutor Lisa Green, who later succeeded Ed Jagels as district attorney, told the jury Brothers lied 41 times during his testimony. He didn’t lie about his philandering, however, testifying to his involvement in multiple extramarital affairs.
On May 15, 2007, Brothers was found guilty of five counts of murder and sentenced to death. Now 59, he remains housed at San Quentin State Prison.
The law requires all death penalty convictions automatically be appealed to the state Supreme Court. A 451-page opening brief has been filed.
Ultimately, the decision on whether Brothers’ death sentence will stand will be up to the Supreme Court justices.
California’s last execution took place in 2006. Gov. Gavin Newsom has suspended the death penalty for as long as he remains in office.