Brandon Woodruff

Capital Murder


On Tuesday, October 18, 2005, Dennis and Norma Woodruff were discovered brutally murdered in their new home in Royse City, Texas. The discovery was made by a family friend who was worried for their safety after they had missed several family members’ calls over the previous two days. Authorities reported both had sustained gunshot injuries and stab wounds. Using the Woodruffs’ phone records, authorities estimated they were likely killed the previous Sunday evening. However, the medical examiner was unable to confirm the time of death.

The couple’s son, Brandon, had visited them that Sunday afternoon before spending the evening clubbing in Dallas and eventually returning back to his college campus in Abilene. The 19-year-old was thought to be the last known person to have seen his parents alive. Brandon, who was gay but not out to his family or others in the community, was initially hesitant to share information that would reveal his sexuality and detectives became concerned about alleged inconsistencies in his timeline of events.

During the investigation, authorities identified the two weapons as potentially being used to commit the crime. The first was a dagger found in the Woodruffs’ old home. The dagger belonged to Brandon, however, there was no physical evidence to indicate that the dagger had been used as part of the crime. A gun and bullets were also reported as missing from Brandon’s girlfriend’s house after the murders took place. The owner of the gun was not able to conclusively state when the gun went missing from her home. Despite the gun from the crime scene never being recovered and authorities remaining unable to tie the dagger to the crime, Brandon was arrested and tried for capital murder.

In 2009, Brandon’s case went to trial in Hunt County, a rural area in East Texas. Throughout the trial, the fact that Brandon was gay was consistently stated by the prosecution who used his sexuality as an implication of his character; a bias that impacted both the investigation and the trial as several jurors described homosexuality as immoral during the voir dire process. Despite a lack of physical evidence, eyewitnesses, an exact time of death, and missing murder weapons, Brandon was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison. IPTX continues to work toward Brandon’s exoneration.

Media Coverage

Systemic Failures Have Wrongly
Imprisoned Thousands of
Innocent Texans.

The Generosity of Their Fellow Citizens Can Provide Them
The Freedom They Deserve.

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