Brandon Woodruff appeared to be a typical 19-year-old small-town Texas youngster until both of his parents were brutally killed in 2005. Woodruff was charged with capital murder, found guilty, and sentenced to life in prison after an inquiry.
Woodruff has already completed 13 years of his life sentence and claimed in his first interview since his conviction that he is finally ready to tell his story.
“I’m not guilty.” In an interview with “20/20,” Woodruff stated, “I did not kill my parents at all.” “I believe you should consider the entire body of evidence.”
Woodruff grew up with his mother, Norma Woodruff, father, Dennis Woodruff, and older sister, Charla Woodruff, in a suburb of Dallas.
The whole story will air on ABC’s “20/20” on FRIDAY at 8 p.m. ET.
Former classmates recall Woodruff as a popular, gregarious animal lover who served as president of the Future Farmers of America when they were in high school. The teen had a steady girlfriend and was voted most school spirit.
During the inquiry into his parents’ murders, however, officials discovered that while at Abilene Christian University, Woodruff was going to homosexual bars, dating guys, and even travelling out of state to participate in pornographic films.
Woodruff paid a visit to his parents in Royse City, Texas, on Sunday, October 16, 2005. The couple was downsizing to help pay for their two children’s college tuition. He claimed to have left after the family had had a pizza meal. The last person to see both of them alive was Woodruff.
Dennis and Norma Woodruff were found slain in their new home two days later. Dennis Woodruff was shot once and stabbed nine times, according to officials. Investigators stated Norma Woodruff was shot multiple times and had her neck cut.
Norma and Dennis Woodruff were most likely murdered between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Sunday night, according to police. The medical examiner, however, was unable to confirm the moment of death. Norma Woodruff’s last phone call was with her mother at 9 p.m., and Charla Woodruff, who was at college in Arkansas, tried to reach the couple shortly after 11 p.m. They were out of grasp for Charla Woodruff. There were contradictions in Woodruff’s timeline when police questioned him about his whereabouts that night.
Michelle Lee, Woodruff’s girlfriend’s mother, also contacted authorities to report a gun and rounds missing from her home. Woodruff had spent the weekend with her before his parents were discovered dead. Investigators compared a bullet found at the crime site to one found in the Lee home and concluded that they were identical. Although Lee’s gun was never located, detectives believe it was of similar calibre to the one used in the crime. The murder weapon was never found, and Woodruff claims he did not steal it.
Woodruff was apprehended and charged with murder with the death penalty.
A dagger was discovered in the barn of the Woodruff’s old house in Heath, Texas, in June 2008. This weapon had Dennis Woodruff’s blood on it. Brandon Woodruff’s former college roommate testified that the dagger he had in his dorm room was the same one he had. Authorities were unable to determine whether the dagger discovered was the murder weapon, and Woodruff maintains that the weapon is not his.
Woodruff’s grandma, Bonnie Woodruff, has always been supportive of her grandson and still believes he is innocent.
“I understand Brandon was unfairly judged. What about murder? Brandon did not do it, I now know. “Someone else is allowing him to take the fall,” Bonnie Woodruff said.
Woodruff’s supporters have claimed for the past decade that there are red flags around the inquiry and subsequent trial. Woodruff alleges that his sexual orientation was a factor in his arrest and imprisonment.
“I feel that is a significant factor.” That seemed like something the investigators could use. They’d say things like, ‘Did you know he was dancing in homosexual bars?’ “Did you know he had a boyfriend, did you know?” Woodruff inquired.
During the investigation, authorities told Woodruff’s friends and family that it didn’t matter if he was gay.
Eight out of twelve jurors told the court that homosexuality was morally wrong during jury selection, yet they were nonetheless allowed to serve on the jury after telling the court that they would be fair to Woodruff.
“Well, guess what? “Eight of the 12 jurors in Brandon’s case clearly declared it was immoral in 2005,” said Philip Crawford, author of “Railroaded,” a book about Woodruff’s case.
Several jurors told ABC News that Woodruff’s sexuality had no bearing on the jury’s decision.
Supporters initiated a campaign to liberate Brandon while he was in prison, and the Innocence Project of Texas has now taken on his case.
The prosecution’s case against Woodruff, according to Allison Clayton, deputy director of the Innocence Project of Texas, rested mainly on a timetable because Woodruff’s whereabouts were not accounted for at the time authorities think the couple was slain. Clayton mentions cell phone records, which would narrow the window of opportunity for the killings even more.
“What? Brandon murders his parents?” 19 minutes at the most? “He has to move quickly or he’ll be accepting calls while conducting these killings,” Clayton stated. “That’s the only way the timetable makes sense: he does something to one of his parents, then picks up the phone and talks to [a friend] as if nothing is wrong.”
In addition to the timeline, Clayton stated that obtaining DNA evidence from Norma Woodruff’s hand hair would be one of the case’s largest possible breakthroughs.
“Police discovered a cluster of longer blonde hairs in Norma’s hand. “Normally, there would be an indication that she had grabbed her attacker and tugged his or her hair,” Clayton explained. “That hair was never tested by law enforcement.” And one of the things we’ve been battling for in the case is figuring out who has that hair so we can have it checked.”
Woodruff’s direct appeal to the state was dismissed in 2000. Woodruff must demonstrate his innocence to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in order to be released.
“Right now, there’s nothing we can do for Brandon unless we get a break in the case,” Clayton explained. “He’ll spend the rest of his life in prison, but maybe there will be evidence that might help him, maybe someone knows something and is prepared to come forward.”
Bonnie Woodruff said she still wishes she could hold her grandson and tell him, “He’s home now,” one day.
“We’re still a family, and we all care about each other.” People can believe what they want, and I can believe what I want because I know the truth, and the truth will come out,” Bonnie Woodruff said.
Woodruff stated that he will not give up his fight to prove his innocence.
“I’m not going to stop now.” “I’m going to keep fighting and fighting to prove my innocence,” he declared. “In my heart, I feel it will happen.”