Pair sentenced in brother-in-law's slaying

Two brothers on Wednesday were sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in prison for the 2009 slaying of their brother-in-law.

Ronnie Brass and Jermaine Brass shot 39-year-old Ernest Mitchell while he was standing in the doorway of his house in the 5500 block of Reiter Avenue, near Smoke Ranch Road and Michael Way.

The two men were convicted of first-degree murder with use of a deadly weapon, first-degree kidnapping, conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

Jermaine Brass, 25, was also convicted of burglary and grand larceny. Ronnie Brass, 29, was acquitted of those charges.

The shooting occurred after Mitchell accused the brothers of stealing tires and rims from his home.

Authorities believe the brothers arrived at Mitchell's home to confront him over the burglary accusations, and while Mitchell was arguing with Ronnie Brass, Jermaine Brass rounded a corner and shot Mitchell nine times, including three execution-style shots.

Authorities said the argument with Ronnie Brass was meant to lure Mitchell out of his home so that Jermaine Brass could shoot him.

Prosecutors said Jermaine Brass masterminded the plan and had help from his brother, who has a low IQ.

Mitchell's wife, Katrina Brass, who witnessed the shooting, testified against her brothers at the trial.

During the sentencing hearing she told Judge Doug Smith that she was tormented by guilt for what happened.

"I relive those nights every single night, and I wish there was something I could have done to stop it," she said.

Katrina Brass said she felt the sentencing was another funeral. After already burying her husband, "I'm losing my brothers," she said.

Brass, who was seven months pregnant, nearly collapsed in the courtroom after speaking. She was rushed from the courthouse in an ambulance believing her water had broke, according to prosecutors.

Mitchell's mother, father and one of his 13 children also addressed Smith and asked him to impose the harshest punishment on the brothers.

Eunice Mitchell said her son's children were devastated by their father's death.

"We only want justice for our son. He is gone forever. They need to be gone forever. They brought this on themselves," Eunice Mitchell said.

Smith, before sentencing Jermaine Brass, called him "a cold-blooded murderer."

At the hearing, both brothers maintained their innocence and said their lawyers were incompetent. Smith dismissed their claims and said both attorneys did an "excellent" job in representing the brothers.

Contact Francis McCabe at or 702-380-1039.