California Serial Killer Pleads Guilty to 2008 Murder of 25-Year-Old Woman

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A 51-year-old California serial killer has pleaded guilty to the 2008 killing of a woman in a Louisiana court last week in order to avoid the death penalty.

Two days before the death of 25-year-old Kirsten Brydum, she posted on her blog, saying, “The sun is setting on the bayou-licked lands, and I am truly fortunate.” Authorities found the victim’s body in New Orleans.

13-Year-Old Murder

Officials charged Joseph Brant with three counts of first-degree murder to be sentenced to prison instead of being given the death penalty. The suspect is an activist who lived in San Francisco.

Authorities said the victim was an activist who lived in San Francisco and was on her cross-country journey when she stepped foot in New Orleans in 2008. Brydum’s friends said she left her hometown to look for “collective autonomy.”

Witnesses last saw the victim on September 27 riding her bike in the early morning. Police later found Brydum’s lifeless body in the Ninth Ward. They discovered she died from a gunshot wound to her head. Initially, they thought the incident was a robbery gone wrong because she had no identification in her possession.

Authorities did not have any solid leads until 2018 when a man who was arrested for burglary confessed to being a serial killer. Brant confessed to murdering several women in 2007 and 2008, including Brydum, Jessica Hawk, Jody Johnson, and another unidentified victim.

The suspect said he sexually assaulted Brydum before killing her. He said he planned to burn the victim’s body but got into a car accident before he could complete his goals. He then abandoned the lifeless body on a street.

Even after confessing to the crimes in 2018, Brant got into arguments with officials during court appearances, yelling and swearing. An Orleans Parish criminal district court judge ruled Brant was mentally incompetent in 2019. This meant he was could not stand trial for his crimes, the San Francisco Gate reported.

Authorities allowed the case to move forward in February 2020 after Brant was treated in a mental health facility. But in recent appearances, Brant berated his own public defenders, calling on, “a f**king two-legged dog. He always got some f**king bulls*** going on.”

“She was just an amazing individual that did things all directed at helping our planet peacefully coexist. That’s really hard to explain to people until you witness a soul who has that as their being,” Frank Lindsay, a friend of the victim, said.

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.