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Judge gives Bruce 15 years

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By Alice Du Pont

Bradley Bruce, 40, was sentenced to 15 years in the Department of Corrections on April 18 by Circuit Judge Jonathan Sjonstrom. The sentencing came on the heels of a six-member jury’s verdict of guilty on aggravated battery and guilty of grant theft auto. Bruce was found not guilty on other charges. He was found not guilty of kidnapping with intent to inflict bodily harm and robbery.

The jury took less than an hour to return the verdict after two days of testimony.

Bruce’s sentence would not have reached the level of 15 years, but because he was found guilty of aggravates battery less than three years after he was released from prison (July 30, 2010) on another charge, he qualifies as s prison releasee offender.

“Aggravated battery is an enumerated offense (calls for an enhanced sentence); it’s been less than three years before the offense occurred,” said assistant state attorney Frank Allman.

The victim stated testified that she had dated Bruce for several months and although they had a volatile relationship, she said, “I loved him.” The pair was returning Feb. 11, 2011, to Quincy from a few days in Fort Walton Beach when they continued an argument that had started earlier.

“He began punching me in the face with his fist. I told him I was pregnant because I didn’t want him to hit me anymore,” she said.

In his closing argument, Allman said the victim’s life was threatened when the incident occurred.

In an attempt to escape, the woman was able to get out of the car near the Greensboro exit, running until she reached the Burger King at the Greensboro, I-10 exit and found help.

David Kemp, Bruce’s attorney, said his client should be found not guilty because the state botched the case, contaminated evidence, law enforcement threw evidence away and left some evidence untested.

Bruce was the subject of a manhunt that included the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office, Leon County Sheriff’s Office, Leon County SWAT Team, Florida Highway Patrol, Quincy Police Department, Gretna Police Department, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Havana Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Chattahoochee Police Department.

Deputies on foot with tracking dogs searched the woods near the Gadsden Correctional facility while two helicopters circled overhead hunting for Bruce, who was considered armed and dangerous. He was later captured in another state by the U.S. Marshall’s Violent Crimes Task Force.