Cold-case murder victim's family wants clarity from alleged New Orleans serial killer

Updated: Feb. 8, 2018 at 10:31 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Family and friends of a woman who was killed in New Orleans in 2008 are patiently awaiting more information from the man who allegedly confessed to her murder and the murder of three other women.

Thursday, Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro announced that Joseph Brant, 48, confessed to killing the women in the span of a year.

Brant is currently in Texas and already sentenced to life after he pleaded guilty to the murder of Jessica Hawk in her Bywater home in 2008.

Brant is also serving an 11-year unrelated burglary sentence.

Cannizzaro said Brant also confessed to the murder of a Jane Doe in October 2007, Jody Johnson in January 2008, and Kirsten Brydum in September 2008. Doe and Johnson were shot and their remains set on fire.

Brydum, a 25-year-old activist from San Francisco, came to New Orleans to help those in poor economic situations. She was murdered while riding her bicycle in the Upper Ninth Ward.

Cannizzaro said it is likely Brant was involved in other murders to which he has not yet confessed.

"Unfortunately, we cannot bring back these young women who lost their lives in these very vicious acts, but again it gives (the families) some closure and it gives them justice that the system has worked for them. I'd like to believe that's what we walk away with," Cannizzaro said.

"Lindsay was a great teacher," said Brydum family friend, Frank Lindsay. "We don't know anything really what this man has said so far other than he has confessed to the murder of Kirsten and the others."

Lindsay said he and other members of Brydum's family started their own investigation into her murder.

"The NOPD is definitely overwhelmed with work. I've seen that, and so if we can help, we'll step in and help. That's what we tried to do," Lindsay said.

Lindsay said a few years ago, an anonymous informant came to the family with information saying two people were responsible for Brydum's death. Lindsay said that informant was later murdered in New Orleans.

The news of Brant's confession came as a shock to the family and its own investigation because Brant was not named by the informant.

"If there's multiple involvement here, that will come to light. That was kind of our informant's take was that there was two people involved. We'll just have to see," Lindsay said.

The DA said details provided by Brant had not been divulged to the public and could reasonably be known only by the person responsible for the crimes.

Brant is expected to be extradited to New Orleans by the end of the month.

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