By Darlene L. Williams, Contributing Writer
(Bakersfield, Calif.)—147 years.
Friends and family members of Keon Brackenridge sat in Kern County Superior Court anxiously awaiting his fate.
Likewise, friends and family members of Richard Iloilo’s sat on the opposite side of the courtroom waiting for their chance to give a victims impact statements and to await the fate of Brackenridge as well.
Brackenridge was charged with first-degree murder in the November 2017 shooting death of Richard Iloilo, a security guard at Golden West Casino, in Bakersfield. Brackenridge was convicted on a total of eight felony charges.
During the victim’s impact statement, William Iloilo, shared memories about his brother, Richard. Looking directly at the defendant, Iloilo stated, “He was an ambitious man, hardworking, and he liked watching Anime cartoons. He was not only my brother, but my best friend as well. Since he’s been gone, our lives have changed drastically.”
“Unfortunately, a life sentence is the least you could get,” he stated.
Sentencing proceedings were postponed twice before the verdict was read around 4:30 pm, June 8, 2022, in Superior Court.
Prior to the sentencing, family members of Keon’s spoke out about the unfairness of the proceedings, claims of evidence being withheld, and concern for their beloved family member. They stated their belief that Brackenridge was rushed to trial and that he acted in self-defense.
“First and foremost, I’d like to say how much of a tragedy this is for both families”, said a family member who wished to remain anonymous. “My condolences to the Iloilo family; it’s a tragedy and two large losses here.”
Fighting back tears, and asking to be given a second before continuing, he further stated, “I think it’s unfair that they—public defender(s)—put up no fight for him”(Keon). “I think the judge was unfair for not allowing my mom inside the courtroom.”
The Bakersfield News Observer (BNO) reached out to Public Defender, Gary Turnbull, at his office. He was unavailable and did not return our call for comment.
Did Kern County Judicial and Mental Health systems fail Keon Brackenridge? Denisa Brown (mother) thinks so and expressed that her son, Keon, was failed on many levels. Brown stated that Brackenridge was under a doctor’s care and was diagnosed with mental illness six years prior to the 2017 shooting.
“I should never be excluded from a public court proceeding, as a mother, it’s not fair”, Denisa said. “He has a right to have a support system, she said. “ He wasn’t allowed to have witnesses; even though he had witnesses. He didn’t have nothing. It’s like they just railroaded him.”
According to Brown, Brackenridge was sent to a mental health facility twice. “First he was incompetent, then after giving him meds, he was competent. His attorney never came to see him”, she said.
“It took 5 years to bring him to trial, and less than two hours for a jury to come back with a guilty verdict”, said Brown.
In his victim’s impact statement and comments to the BNO, Charles F., colleague of Richard Iloilo, stated, “Mr. Brackenridge has a future in prison; what is he going to do? I hope he becomes a positive person. His family will certainly have a greater appreciation for his positive change, but it’s because Mr. Brackenridge has a future and Richard does not.”