Joseph Brant, a 47-year-old Black male already serving a life sentence for one murder, has pleaded guilty to killing three more people. He was indicted for these murders back in 2018. Despite the brutal nature of his killings, he will be exempt from the death penalty as part of a plea bargain.
One of the victims was 25-year-old Kirsten Brydum, a left-wing activist from San Francisco. According to her online blog, she traveled to New Orleans to campaign for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. Brydum’s goal was to encourage Black residents of New Orleans to register to vote and turn out for the election.
Brydum arrived in New Orleans by Amtrak in September of 2008, after attending protests at the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She was armed only with a ratty old bicycle and same Obama campaign literature.
In the early dawn hours of September 27th, she was fatally shot in the head. The killer did not steal anything. Brydum’s body laid on the sidewalk in the city’s 9th Ward, next to her bicycle, for hours. No one called the police even though the body was in plain view. She was eventually discovered by city workers who were driving by.
The New Orleans police issued a statement saying, “robbery does not appear to be the motivation.” Brydum was also raped, but police held back this information. During Brant’s guilty plea, he disclosed that he was on his way to buy gasoline to burn Brydum’s body but got into a car wreck.
After her death, friends in San Francisco posted memorials online but refused to mention how she died. The San Francisco Chronicle ran a story by staff reporter Steve Rubenstein falsely claiming she was “on vacation” in New Orleans and murdered for her bicycle in a “robbery.” Directly contradicting what the police said. Later, some reporters in Louisiana began quoting this fake story from Rubenstein and ignoring the facts. There was an intentional effort by many so-called “journalists” to whitewash the story.
The campaign of Barak Obama never issued any statement, instead opting to ignore the murder of a dedicated campaign volunteer completely.
Later that year, Joseph Brant plead guilty to murdering Jessica Hawk, a 32-year-old White female who lived in Bywater, Louisiana. She was a botanist and had just moved to the area for a new job at Botanical Garden at New Orleans’ City Park. Hawk was raped, choked to death, and her body was set on fire.
Brant was sentenced to life in prison for this brutal murder after a plea deal.
His new guilty plea includes the murder of Brydum, 47-year-old Jody Johnson, and still unidentified Jane Dow. The common thread in the murders was rape, murder, and then the burning of the bodies.
Video of Kirsten Brydum months before her murder: