Metro Weekly

Man convicted of killing transgender woman gets life in prison

Terry Brady insists he is innocent of shooting Yaz'min Shancez six times and setting her body on fire

Yaz'min Shancez - Photo: Facebook.

Yaz’min Shancez – Photo: Facebook.

A transgender Florida woman’s family can now feel justice was doled out after the man convicted of killing her was sentenced to life in prison.

On Monday, Lee County Circuit Judge Frank Porter sentenced 47-year-old Terry Brady, of Fort Myers, Fla., to life in prison for shooting 31-year-old Yaz’min Shancez at least six times and then setting her body on fire before trying to dispose of her remains. Porter also denied an appeal by Brady’s lawyers seeking to overturn the second-degree murder conviction that a jury handed down in September, reports the Fort Myers News-Press.

Among the objections raised by Brady’s defense team were that police did not have sufficient evidence to obtain a warrant to search Brady’s home. Defense lawyer Robert Harris said that because the warrant was wrongfully issued, the gun found in Brady’s apartment — which was later determined to be the murder weapon — should have been inadmissible in court. Porter dismissed that argument, ruling there was substantial evidence tying Brady to the murder.

Harris had previously delayed Brady’s sentencing by alleging that there was possible juror misconduct that could have prejudiced the jury against his client. But after investigating those suspicions, he told the News-Press that those suspicions didn’t pan out.

Brady, for his own part, continues to insist that he is innocent. Prior to being sentenced, he apologized to both his own family and Shancez’s family members, who were not present at the hearing. 

“Maybe one day we’ll find out who did this crime,” Brady said, blaming political agendas and unsupported theories for his conviction. “You’re telling me you can take a man’s life based on a theory? If you went by the law, we wouldn’t be sitting here today.”

One of those theories is that Brady and Shancez had an intimate relationship, though prosecutors never raised that as a motivation for the killing, instead choosing to focus on the physical evidence tying Brady to the crime. That evidence included six bullets used to kill Shancez that were linked to the gun found in Brady’s apartment, and surveillance videos showing Brady’s car at a local gas station, and that same car near the spot where Shancez’s remains were found.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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