Juror ‘Devastated’ After Death Penalty Overturned in Briggs Case

BRADFORD COUNTY -- A judge has vacated the death penalty against convicted double murderer Dustin Briggs, who was convicted of murdering two Bradford County sheriff’s deputies in 2006.

In his recent ruling, the judge cited an error that violated the state’s death penalty statute during the penalty phase of the trial.

Dustin Briggs was found guilty of shooting and killing Christopher Burgert and Michael VanKuren in 2004 when the two came to serve a warrant to Briggs.

Investigators say Briggs then ran off into the woods, launching a massive manhunt before he was arrested and put on trial.

"There were days when I was just sitting in the chair, and I'm just grabbing on the arms of the chairs because I didn't want to sit there. I didn't want to see the pictures that we saw, family members sitting in the courtroom, you're looking at them,” said Deb Williams.

Deb Williams was Juror 8 during the Briggs trial.

She believes he was guilty of murder and deserves to die for his crimes.

This week, she learned a judge vacated the death penalty, citing the fact that jurors should have been given two slips for each murder instead of one, which does not comply with a state law.

Briggs' sentence now is life behind bars.

"Everything that we the jury went through was just unreal. What we saw, what we heard, what he did, and this new judge's ruling is, I just don't understand it. I don't understand it at all."

After the trial, Williams says she became close with family members of the slain deputies. She spoke with them this week and says, like her, they are devastated. So are fellow jurors she has remained friends with over the years.

"They found out through social media. Nobody contacted them and said they were going to look at the case. Nobody knew. Pretty sad way to find out. It’s not right, not right at all."

Brigg’s attorneys have also filed a petition to have the conviction overturned and have Briggs granted a new trial.

That is still in appeal.

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