New Orleans 'serial killer' admits to 3 more murders, DA says

Updated: Feb. 8, 2018 at 2:21 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Orleans District Attorney's office indicted a convicted killer on three additional counts of first-degree murder on Thursday.

Joseph Brandt, 48, confessed to the killings last week during a Texas prison interview investigators.

DA Leon Cannizzaro said the new indictment cemented his role "as a New Orleans serial killer who took the lives of at least four women."

Prosecutors said the women were killed between October 2007 and September 2008.

Bond was set at $1 million dollars for each of the three counts.

Brant already has pleaded guilty and is awaiting a lifetime prison sentence imposed in December 2016, in connection with the stabbing death of botanist Jessica Hawk inside her Bywater home on Aug. 11, 2008.

Brant was to begin serving that life sentence in Louisiana upon completion of an unrelated 11-year burglary sentence he has been serving in Texas.

Brant's attorneys said their client wanted to make it known he wished to provide information on other unsolved killings in New Orleans in exchange for an agreement that he would not face the death penalty and that he would serve the remainder of his prison terms in a Louisiana penitentiary.

During the course of an interview on Tuesday, Brant revealed specific details of three additional New Orleans murders. The details provided by Brant had not been divulged to the public. Investigators concluded the information was both accurate and incriminating.

The Orleans DA's Office said Brant admitted to:

The first-degree murder of Jane Doe, on Oct. 17, 2007. This victim, an unidentified suspected prostitute, was found burned beyond recognition inside a charred stolen car abandoned in a secluded area near train tracks under the Almonaster Avenue bridge. Brant confessed to soliciting the woman for sex, threatening her at knife point when she would not comply after being paid, then strangling her to death while attempting to rape her. Brant said he poured gasoline on the victim's body and set it aflame to prevent his identification and destroy evidence at the crime scene.

The first-degree murder of Jody Johnson, on Jan. 11, 2008. Johnson, another suspected prostitute, was found shot to death and burned post-mortem in the 3600 block of Piety Street. Brant confessed to seeing the woman walking in the 7th Ward, soliciting her for sex, driving her to the abandoned block and forcing her to perform oral sex with a gun to her head. Brant said he then forced Johnson out of the car into an overgrown vacant lot, fatally shooting her in the head before pouring gasoline and setting her body on fire.

The first-degree murder of Kirsten Brydum, on Sept. 27, 2008. Brydum, a 25- year-old social activist from San Francisco on a volunteer trip to New Orleans, was robbed of her bicycle and tote bag and found shot to death in the 3000 block of Laussat Place in the Upper 9th Ward.

Authorities in Orleans Parish are working with counterparts in Texas to secure the immediate extradition of Brant. The defendant is expected to enter a guilty plea to the three killings that were charged on Thursday, prosecutors said.

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