Local News

Tuesday, Feb 27 2007 01:46 PM

Brother of murder suspect admits to lying to investigators

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    Melvin Brothers testifies in court.

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By JESSICA LOGAN, Californian staff writer e-mail: jlogan@bakersfield.com

Melvin Brothers admitted in court Tuesday that he repeatedly lied to investigators who were trying to find out who killed the family of his brother Vincent Brothers.

Melvin Brothers said he lied so that he wouldn't become entangled in the murder investigation. His brother is accused of killing his wife, three children and mother-in-law.

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Melvin initially denied using his brother's credit card, but admitted it after investigators told him they caught him on tape making a purchase with it around the time of the killings.

The prosecution believes Vincent Brothers gave his brother his credit card in Ohio to help prove he was in Ohio around the time of the killings.

Deputy District Attorney Lisa Green believed Vincent Brothers flew to Ohio to visit his brother, then drove back to Bakersfield to kill his family and drove back to Ohio.

The prosecutor and Melvin Brothers wrangled Tuesday over a multitude of statements the witness has given since Vincent Brothers’ family was found killed in 2003.

Vincent Brothers’ brother Melvin, who is around the same height, age and weight, with the same close cropped hair and glasses, said Vincent Brothers visited him once in Ohio in April 2003 and again in July 2003, around the same time Brothers’ family was killed.

Melvin Brothers has given conflicting statements if Vincent Brothers was with him in Ohio around the time of the killing or not.

The defense believes Melvin Brothers was threatened into making incriminating statements against his brother.

Melvin Brothers has not yet discussed in depth the July 2003 visit, but he and Green have already sparred over the finer details of his many statements to investigators.

Brothers, a former vice principal, is accused of killing his wife, Joanie Harper; their three children, Marques, Lyndsey and Marshall; and Joanie Harper’s mother, Earnestine.

Brothers has pleaded not guilty.

His family was found dead on July 8, 2003, and he was arrested in April 2004 on suspicion of committing the murders.

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