2019 Letter to Friends

August 15, 2019
Dear Friends,

I am writing to you to ask for your help to protest the parole of Brandon Threet - the man who killed my brother, Terence McArdle. In 2002, Brandon Threet was convicted of manslaughter with a deadly weapon and sentenced to twenty years in prison.

In case you need more background information on Threet’s crime, you can refer to the one page summary following our signatures. The summary details the violence with which Threet killed my brother, and explains why Threet is a danger to our community.

As you’ll see below, even now, it is clear that Threet is a continuing danger to our community.

Despite his claims in a CBS Interview, Threet has shown no remorse for the violent acts that took my brother’s life

On November 14, 2017, CBS Austin aired an interview with Threet and published a related article. During the interview, Threet claims that he’s a “different person now,” yet Threet persists to lie to the public about his role in killing Terence. Indeed, Threet does not mention Terence by name even once, nor does he apologize for killing Terence.

 Incredibly, Threet is still in denial and refuses to take responsibility for his crime.

First, in the interview article, Threet still insists that Terence’s death was the result of a “fistfight turned bad” even though he previously admitted that his attack on Terence was unprovoked.

At his trial in 2002, Threet had unsuccessfully claimed it was a fight. However, when Threet was cross-examined by the District Attorney, Threet admitted that it was not a fight, he attacked Terence.

A video presented at trial captured the moment that Threet pressured Terence to trade punches to the chest, sucker-punched Terence in the face, struck Terence several more times, and kicked Terence in the head as he was on the ground. Threet, a football player, was wearing steel-toed work boots when he kicked Terence’s head.

Despite the video and his own admission of guilt, Threet persists to pretend that Terence died as a result of a “fistfight turned bad.”

Threet requested Terence to trade punches to the chest with him three times until Terence relented. Threet was so adamant about this because Threet knew that he would punch Terence in the face even before the first request. Threet admitted to a police officer, “I just wanted to give him a concussion.” Although Threet pretended that all he wanted was to exchange punches to the chest, Threet knew from the beginning that he planned to punch Terence in the face or head.

Second, Threet has also repeatedly lied to try to minimize his violent acts. The facts at trial show that Threet’s bullying of Terence continued for two hours before he finally killed Terence. At trial, witnesses testified that Threet targeted Terence several times starting approximately two hours before killing Terence. In their first encounter, Threet called Terence a “faggot,” and in their second encounter, Threet shoved Terence to the ground because according to Threet, Terence was wearing ski goggles and acting silly. Finally, Threet requested Terence to exchange punches to the chest three times in a row.

Threet attempts to minimize his actions by claiming, inconsistently, that the length of the assault was brief. In his CBS interview, he claims that assault was “only twelve seconds long.” At his trial, Threet said it was only seventeen seconds, but in articles published by the Austin Chronicle in 2005 and 2009, Threet claimed the attack was only four seconds long.

Threet also refuses to acknowledge that he targeted Terence nearly two hours beforehand and goaded Terence into exchanging punches to the chest, so that he could, at the very least, give Terence a concussion by punching Terence in the face.

Furthermore, Threet claims that “things got completely out of hand,” to conceal the fact that he escalated his aggression towards Terence for nearly two hours. Threet wants the public to believe that Terence’s death was out of Threet’s control despite Threet executing his ambush on Terence exactly as he had planned to. Moreover, Terence denied Threet’s request three times, which gave Threet at least three opportunities to avoid violence.

Although Threet could have stopped at any moment during those two hours, he didn’t. Instead, Threet hatched a plan, controlled his anger enough to lie to Terence, and then tricked Terence into believing that they would exchange punches to the chest.

Threet attempts to characterize himself as an “immature freshman” in another effort to avoid taking responsibility for his actions that night. In the 2005 Austin Chronicle article, Threet further claimed that “I was just a kid like anybody else.”

This is just yet another one of Threet’s attempts to normalize his actions. It’s clear to everyone that the cold and calculated manner in which Threet killed my brother is anything but normal.

Threet offers “we were drinking[...]” as another excuse, and yet another way to deflect blame for his own decisions and actions that killed Terence. In doing so, Threet not only blames alcohol but also Terence.

In fact, Threet was obviously sober enough to plan and execute his attack on Terence. There is no evidence that Threet attacked Terence in a wild, drunken rage. Threet targeted Terence for two hours that night, then carefully planned to trick Terence into lowering his guard so that he could punch Terence in the face.

Despite having seventeen years to reflect on his actions, Threet has continuously failed to grasp the consequences of his statements and actions. By falsely claiming that it was a “fistfight”, disregarding his actions that began two hours beforehand, and blaming immaturity and alcohol, Threet demonstrates that he still does not blame himself for killing Terence. How are we as a community supposed to feel safe and secure, if it’s clear that Threet could commit such violent acts again without any understanding of why they’re wrong?

Instead of using the interview as a chance to publicly apologize for killing Terence, Threet repeated the same lies that he relied on in 2005 and 2009; all of which was already rejected by a jury of his peers at his trial. Threet neither needs nor wants forgiveness from Terence, our family, or Terence’s friends. Threet only seeks the public’s support for his release, not forgiveness.

I do not believe Threet’s claim that he is a “different person now.” He has once again publicly repeated the same lies that he declared in 2005 and 2009. Threet is still the lying coward that he was the night he killed my brother, Terence.

The article published along with the interview stated that my family “has aggressively protested Threet’s parole.” Our effort over the past years has been compelled by our duty to protect Terence’s memory and hold Threet accountable for killing Terence. We will not permit Threet to rewrite the events of that night.

The interview proves that Threet is unremorseful for killing Terence. A remorseful person does not repeatedly lie to the public about his actions or lay blame elsewhere. A remorseful person accepts responsibility for the consequences of his actions.

We are also fearful that Threet’s continued failure to show any remorse for his violent actions means that Threet continues to pose a danger to our community. We continue to oppose Threet’s release because we believe that his inability to show remorse means that Threet could easily hurt someone else in our community.

Threet’s Social Media Campaign Spreads More Lies and Further Demonstrates Threet’s Lack of Remorse

In October 2017, a month before the CBS interview, Threet’s family and supporters launched a website to gather petitions in support of Threet’s parole. As of today’s date, August 15, 2019, the website includes numerous false statements indicating that Brandon Threet, his family, and his supporters see Threet as the victim. They don’t even bother to mention my brother, Terence by name! Instead, the website refers to Terence as an “opponent.”

The website further attempts to rebrand Threet’s attack upon Terence as an “altercation,” and not the brutal premeditated assault that it was. In the video, Terence is smiling when Threet punched him in the face. There was never an altercation from Terence’s perspective. As the prosecutor stated at Threet’s trial, Threet’s attack was an ambush: Threet targeted Terence two hours before tricking Terence and killing him.

The website also attempts to confuse people about Terence’s cause of death by suggesting that Terence’s death might not have been caused by Threet’s violent acts. Such a claim is absolutely ludicrous. Terence’s cause of death has never been in controversy. Several expert witnesses, including the neurosurgeon that tried in vain to save Terence and the medical examiner that performed the autopsy on Terence, testified that Terence’s death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head. Threet was wearing steel-toed work boots when he kicked Terence in the head as Terence was still on the ground.

Finally, the website falsely claims that Threet has attempted several times to reach out to us through TDCJ Victim Services.

In fact, Threet has attempted to contact us only once shortly before his second parole review. Threet has publicly lied in the 2005 and 2009 Austin Chronicle articles about the events of that night and failed to accept responsibility for killing Terence. We have never received any indication that Threet hopes to apologize or otherwise take responsibility for killing Terence. Instead, as detailed above, all of Threet’s actions since killing Terence show that he remains remorseless and even attempts to characterize himself as the victim.

In Summary

The cruelty that Threet exhibited that night cannot be rehabilitated because Threet continues to publicly display an unwillingness to accept how he killed Terence. Threet assaulted Terence multiple times before finally tricking Terence, punching Terence in the face, striking Terence several more times, and kicking Terence in the head when he was on the ground. Threet planned an ambush, assaulted, and then killed Terence. Such cruelty can only be contained while he remains in prison.

I truly believe that upon release Threet will be a threat to our community and may once again harm or kill someone all because he didn't like the way they looked or the way they acted. Seventeen years have passed and Threet still can’t understand that killing Terence was wrong. What’s to stop him from killing someone else?

In 2001, Terence wrote, “My goal is to reach an old age and be able to look back on my life and smile, knowing that others have benefited from me being alive and that I have impacted their lives in a positive way.” In high school, he mentored at-risk youth as part of a peer outreach program. Like his grandfather, Terence wanted to be a social worker. Terence was genuine, happy, and full of love.

In his last moments, Terence was smiling. The exact smile that so many of you remember and the same smile that Threet smashed his fist into. Terence saw the good in people. Terence could not conceive of what Threet had planned because Terence’s kindness blinded him to Threet’s cruelty.

I’ve lived over half my life without my brother, Terence. Because of Threet, my daughter will never meet her uncle nor will I ever be one. From this experience, I’ve learned that justice, as with anything worthwhile, must be protected.

We are asking for your help to keep Threet in prison for as long as he was sentenced. We know it’s very difficult to write a parole protest letter. For those of you who wrote an earlier parole protest letter, it’s ok to re-date and send your letter again. If you wish to do this and no longer have your letter, but had sent us a copy, we can retrieve it for you.

Please refer to the website below regarding information about Threet’s crime, what should be included in a protest letter, and where to send it. Please send your letters and petitions no later than the end of September 2019.

            www.JusticeForTerenceMcArdle.com

My family and I respectfully request your help to protest the parole of Brandon Threet.


Sincerely,

Brendan McArdle
James McArdle
Chung-Chung Chiu McArdle


October 7, 2001

On October 7th, 2001, three days after his 18th birthday, Terence McArdle was brutally attacked by Brandon Threet, a former high-school classmate, during a party at a north Austin house. After lying comatose for a week, Terence died of the injuries caused by Threet.

Based on the testimony of several witnesses, a video recording of the attack, and Threet’s own admissions, Threet planned to attack Terence that night. Threet harassed Terence three separate times within two short hours, escalating his attacks each time.

In their first encounter, Threet called Terence a “faggot,” and yelled at Terence for being rowdy. The second incident occurred when Threet pushed Terence down because Threet said that Terence was wearing ski goggles and acting silly.

Finally, Threet cornered Terence in the backyard and asked Terence to trade punches to the chest with him to settle their differences, stating that the loser would go home. Threet asked and was denied by Terence three times. Nevertheless, Terence relented on the fourth request and agreed.

In the videotape, Terence is smiling, unaware of Threet’s plan, and says, “Don’t break my ribs, ok?” Threet, surrounded by his friends, stands stiff, not smiling. Brett Midgley, the friend videotaping, says, “Oh, shit. Brandon [Threet] is pissed.” Brett probably knows what’s about to happen to Terence.

Threet already knows what he’s going to do, he’s planning to hurt Terence as much as he possibly can.

He lets Terence go first. The moment Terence’s punch hits his chest, Threet steps back, cocks his fist and punches Terence in the face. As Terence stumbles backward, Threet pounces, following his ambush with more punches. An onlooker tries to pull Threet off Terence but retreats when Threet begins throwing punches at the onlooker, pushing him against a fence.

As Terence is on the ground, Threet rushes back and kicks Terence in the head, like Terence’s head is a football. It makes a loud thud because Threet is wearing steel-toed work boots.

After kicking Terence unconscious, Threet left the party to find his girlfriend because she had broken up with him for what he did. Threet didn’t call 911 – didn’t try to help Terence or check to see if he was ok – didn’t turn himself in even after he discovered that Terence was in the hospital. Threet didn’t care that he had just killed someone. Instead, Threet was more concerned about being dumped.


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