A 55-year-old Oakland man pleaded no contest today to first-degree murder for the strangulation death of 28-year-old Roshun Broadnax in East Oakland 27 years ago.
Eddie Brown, who was brought to court in a wheelchair, entered his plea in the courtroom of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stuart Hing and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 4.
In addition to murder, Brown was charged with the special circumstance of committing a murder during the course of a rape as well as having four prior felony convictions.
Brown could have faced life in prison without the possibility of parole if he’d been convicted of all the charges against him, but prosecutor Jason Chin agreed to dismiss the other charges against Brown after he entered his murder plea and to have him serve the lesser term of 25 years to life in state prison.
Brown will be eligible for parole in about 10 years, but Chin said he has significant health issues.
Oakland police Officer Herb Webber said in a probable cause statement that police believe Brown killed Broadnax either on July 9, 1987, or the next day, as her body was found behind a residence at 1942 47th Ave. in East Oakland at about 5:20 p.m. on July 10, 2010.
Broadnax was found partially-clothed and wrapped in a carpet in a garage behind the residence, Webber said.
The Alameda County coroner’s bureau determined that she died from strangulation because ligature marks were found on her neck, according to Webber.
Chin said Brown had scratch marks on his face and police received a tip that he had killed Broadnax but he said authorities didn’t have enough evidence against him in 1987 to file charges against him at that time.
Chin said when authorities were able to conduct more advanced DNA testing in recent years they found that his DNA was under Broadnax’s fingernails.
Webber said the DNA hit occurred because Brown is a convicted sex offender, as he was convicted of two counts of assault with intent to commit a sex crime in Santa Clara County in 1979.
According to prosecutors, Brown also was convicted in Santa Clara County in 1979 of two counts of second-degree commercial burglary.
Brown was finally charged with murder for Broadnax’s death in 2012.
Chin said he’s been in contact with Broadnax’s family about the case against Brown but he’s not sure if they will attend his sentencing hearing.
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