BRATCHER v. COMMONWEALTH
PHILLIP BRATCHER, Appellant,
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY, Appellee. and
MARK BRATCHER, Appellant,
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY, Appellee.
Nos. 2009-CA-001084-MR, 2009-CA-001085-MR
Court of Appeals of Kentucky.
Rendered: November 2, 2012; 10:00 A.M.
M. Brooke Buchanan, Assistant Public Advocate, Frankfort, Kentucky, BRIEFS FOR APPELLANT, PHILLIP BRATCHER.
Brian Thomas Ruff, Assistant Public Advocate, Frankfort, Kentucky, BRIEF FOR APPELLANT, MARK BRATCHER.
BEFORE: KELLER, NICKELL AND STUMBO, JUDGES.
Phillip Bratcher1 and his brother, Mark Bratcher, were jointly tried and convicted of the 1999 for-profit strangulation death of Susan Andrew in Louisville, Kentucky. Mark faced the death penalty; Phillip did not. Both men seek to overturn their intentional murder2 convictions due to ineffective assistance of counsel under RCr3 11.42. Having thoroughly reviewed the extensive record, we affirm both orders denying relief.FACTS A jury tried this case November 2-26, 2001, in Jefferson County, Kentucky. A synopsis of the trial can be found in Bratcher v. Commonwealth, 151 S.W.3d 332, 338-40 (Ky. 2004), wherein the Supreme Court of Kentucky affirmed Mark's conviction and sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Phillip did not file a direct appeal, having accepted the Commonwealth's offer of a 25-year sentence prior to the penalty phase in return for his willingness to testify against Mark at any future hearings regarding the murder and his waiver of the right to appeal all issues. During the guilt phase of trial, Phillip had waived his right not to testify in return for the Commonwealth's agreement not to seek the death penalty against him.
Suffice it to say, Ms. Andrew died from strangulation a short time after learning that Mark, with whom she was romantically involved and who was severely in debt, had been unfaithful to her and she had decided to stop providing financial support to him. Phillip testified at trial that he accompanied Mark to the victim's home the night of August 28, 1999, to mediate a dispute, but exited the house before anything untoward happened. Phillip claimed he knew nothing of a murder until police questioned him about Mark a few days later. In contrast, Mark testified he spent the night of August 28, 1999, in Phillip's trailer in Kokomo, Indiana, after moving his ex-wife and daughters to a new home and thought it odd when he could not reach Ms. Andrew by telephone. Mark insisted he had not killed Ms. Andrew and claimed he did not know she had named him as a beneficiary on several life insurance policies. When the victim failed to return to work after the weekend, her daughter went to her home and found her dead body on the basement steps.MOTIONS TO VACATE