50 American serial killers - Virginia
A series of hubs chronicling a serial killer from each of the fifty states.
The Briley brothers
January 28, 1971, was laundry day for Orline Christian. The 57-year-old Richmond resident carried her washed laundry to her backyard and proceeded to hang it up on the clothesline to dry in the cool Virginia air.
As her 16-year-old neighbor leaned out his window and fatally shot her through the back of her neck, perhaps her final thoughts were of her husband whom she recently buried.
Linwood Earl Briley was the teenager. He, along with his brothers James and Anthony and their friend Duncan Eric Meekins, wreaked havoc and destroyed lives throughout the city of Richmond. Eight years after the murder of Orline Christian, the Briley gang killed at least eleven people, perhaps as many as twenty.
The following are the poor souls who were unlucky to cross paths with the Briley Brothers:
William and Virginia Bucher– attacked on March 12, 1979. Linwood and Anthony Briley forced their way into their house, tied up the unfortunate couple, and poured kerosene everywhere as they swiped anything they wanted. On their way out, they lit a match and threw it over their shoulder. Luckily William and Virginia were able to break out of their constraints and escaped before the entire house burned to the ground. Linwood and Anthony made off with a television, some jewelry, and a CB radio.
Michael McDuffie – killed on March 21. A vending machine repairman, Michael was murdered and the brothers made off with his valuables.
Mary Gowen – killed April 9. The brothers raped, murdered and robbed the 76-year-old in her own home, making off with some of her possessions.
Christopher Phillips – killed July 4. The gang dragged the seventeen-year-old into a backyard, wrestled him to the ground, then smashed his head in with a cinderblock when he screamed for help.
John Gallaher – killed Sept 14. A disc jockey who went by the name of “Johnny G”, he was unfortunate enough to have stepped outside a nightclub right into the hands of the Briley brothers. He was thrown into a trunk, driven out to an abandoned paper mill on Mayo Island, and then shot directly in the head. Months later, Linwood was still wearing a ring he stole from Gallaher.
Mary Wilfong – killed Sept 30. The boys attacked the 62-year-old nurse outside her apartment, Linwood beating her to death with a baseball bat. They then entered her apartment and took what they wanted.
Blanche Page and Charles Garner – killed Oct 5. Living only two blocks away from the Briley house, Blanche was bludgeoned to death while Garner was attacked with several different instruments, including a baseball bat, five different knives, a pair of scissors and a fork. The brothers left the scissors and the fork embedded in Garner’s back.
The Wilkerson family – killed Oct 19. The Wilkerson’s included Harvey, his wife Judy (who was five months pregnant) and their son Harvey Jr. Judy and Harvey Sr were both bound and gagged with duct tape. Linwood dragged Judy into the kitchen where she was raped by both Linwood and Duncan Meekins. They dragged her back out to the living room and covered all three victims with a sheet. Meekins then shot Harvey Sr. while James shot and killed both Judy and 5 year old Harvey Jr.
Thankfully soon after the murder of the Wilkerson family, the Briley gang was apprehended by Richmond police. Duncan Meekins agreed to a plea agreement, was the star witness, and avoided the death penalty, being sentenced to life plus 80 years. He remains imprisoned to this day.
Anthony Briley received a single life sentence with eligibility for parole. He also is still imprisoned in Virginia.
Linwood Briley was sentenced to death and died in the electric chair on October 12, 1984.
James Briley was also sentenced to death and was executed on April 18, 1985.
May they all rot in hell.
wikipedia.com; murderpedia.com; leeofland.com; timesdispatch.com