BREAKING: Brantley pleads guilty for role in 2006 murder, will testify against Bird

A Summersville man who allegedly conspired with his girlfriend to murder her parents pled guilty today, according to Texas County Prosecutor Michael Anderson,

Chad R. Brantley, 21, pled guilty to four counts for his role in the January 2006 slaying of Christina Bird and shooting of William “Buddy” Bird: first-degree assault; second-degree murder; and two armed criminal action counts.

As part of the plea agreement, Brantley will testify in writing against his counterpart in the slaying, Amelia Bird. Anderson said Brantley’s recommended sentence will be two consecutive life terms. Sentencing is in January.

Brantley’s trial was expected to begin Oct. 23, and he could have faced the death penalty. But he was transferred from Texas County Jail, where he has been housed since he was arrested, to Pulaski County to enter his plea.

Bird, 18, will stand trial in February 2009. It was originally scheduled for March of this year, but the trial was delayed when her defense asked for a continuance. She is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree assault with a maximum penalty of life in prison

According to authorities, Brantley and Bird conspired to kill Bird’s parents in their home south of Summersville on Highway 17. Bird’s mother, Christina, was killed in the shooting. Her father, Buddy Bird, was seriously wounded but survived.

Amelia Bird, who was 16 at the time but later certified as an adult, was reportedly in her parent’s home the night of the shooting and made the 911 call for help. Authorities quickly discovered conflicting stories from Bird, who alleged that a man wearing a hooded coat and baseball cap shot her parents, and Brantley. They said the pair planned the shooting and that Brantley was standing at the sliding glass door of the home when Bird made the call for help. Both were arrested the following day.

Christina Bird died at the scene. Buddy Bird was taken to a Springfield hospital where he recovered.

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