Former cult member murdered in Texas

LUBBOCK, Texas — A man convicted of first-degree manslaughter for the 1988 beating death of a young girl in what its organizers characterized as an Olympics training boarding house was found shot to death.

Brian J. Brinson, 52, was convicted in 1989 of participating in a beating that killed Dayna Broussard, 8.
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Brinson was a leader in a group called the Ecclesia Athletic Association headed by a charismatic leader and the victim’s father, Eldridge Broussard.

After the girl’s death, over 50 children were taken from a farmhouse where Broussard led a group of adults that practiced strict discipline. Broussard was convinced that he could train children to become star athletes and also to adhere to life-long principles that would keep them crime and drug free.
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– Source / Full Story: Former Clackamas cult member murdered in Texas , Michael Rollins, KGW News, Dec. 19, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Man found shot to death in car, details about victim’s past

Minutes after searching the area police found 52-year-old Brian James Brinson of Midland slumped over and unresponsive in his 1995 Mercedes that was parked along 24th Place.

“It does appear to be a shooting so far. They did observe what appears to be one apparent gunshot wound to the torso,” said Captain Greg Stevens, Lubbock Police Department.

“Everything we got so far does lead us to believe that it is apparently a homicide,” said Stevens.
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Criminal records shows in 1989 Brinson along with three others were sentenced to 20 years in prison for beating 8-year-old Dayna Broussard to death. It was a death that sparked an investigation leading to 53 children taken into custody by the state of Oregon.
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Brinson served time in prison from 1989 to 2001 for Dayna’s death. The next year Brinson went back to prison for sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy. Brinson had only been out of prison a year before he was found dead.
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– Source / Full Story: Man found shot to death in car, details about victim’s past, Tiffany Pelt, KCBD, Dec. 19, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

From the archives:

The Death of Dayna

Last week four adults came to the Clackamas County firehouse with the body of an eight- year-old girl who had died from multiple injuries to the head, chest and limbs. She was Broussard’s eight-year-old daughter Dayna.

Chastened authorities who inspected the two-story, four-bedroom Ecclesia house discovered 53 other children, ages three months to 16 years, living in Dickensian horror.
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According to Donald Welch, director of the Clackamas County juvenile – department, floggings were “systematic.” Adult staff members, he said, would deal out up to 800 blows with “paddle, electrical cord or similar device,” while other children looked on.

Four adults, including two who delivered the dead girl to the firehouse, were charged with first-degree manslaughter and held in lieu of $250,000 bail. The children were placed in the protective custody of juvenile authorities.

Broussard, 35, was in Los Angeles at the time but returned to Oregon last week. After first refusing to comment on the case, he later made a bizarre appearance on the nationally televised Oprah Winfrey Show. Grinning and smiling, smirking and haranguing, Broussard evaded all direct questions while blaming the death of his daughter on “the media.”

His only display of emotion came when he broke into tears as he complained about the media’s treatment of him. His program has been unfairly likened to a cult, he said, and he has been called, in his own phrase, a “new Jim Jones.” Broussard denied that children in the house were beaten. They were merely “spanked,” he said
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– Source / Full Story: The Death of Dayna, TIME, Oct. 31, 1988 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Ecclesia Children Saw Fatal Beating, Oregon D.A. Says

Children under the care of the Watts-based Ecclesia Athletic Assn. watched the fatal beating of the 8-year-old daughter of the group’s founder, authorities said Wednesday.

“They watched the beating, after which she died,” Clackamas County Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. Dennis Miller said, referring to the death of Dayna Broussard, the daughter of Ecclesia founder Eldridge Broussard Jr.
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Broussard founded both Ecclesia and the Watts Christian Center in Los Angeles. The athletic group claims to train ghetto children for sporting events such as the Olympics.
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– Source / Full Story: Ecclesia Children Saw Fatal Beating, Oregon D.A. Says, UPI, via the Los Angeles Times, Oct. 20, 1988 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Beating Death of Ecclesia Girl Described to Jury by Prosecutor

The 8-year-old daughter of the leader of the Ecclesia Athletic Assn. was struck by more than 500 blows as an example to other children before she died, a prosecutor alleged.

Dayna Broussard was beaten in a garage used by the Watts-based group after she defied adults who tried to punish her for taking food from another child’s plate, said Alfred J. French III, a deputy Clackamas County district attorney.

French, who delivered his opening statement in the manslaughter trial of four group members on Monday, said the punishment intensified over a one- to two-hour period until the child was left gasping for breath.

When adults finally took the child to a fire station for help early on Oct. 14, she was dead.

French said the victim’s younger brother was forced to count the strokes as the punishment was administered with a rubber hose, an electric cord, a piece of plastic pipe, a bamboo pole and a large belt used by weightlifters. More than 50 other children in the group were forced to watch, he said.

And at one point, defendant Constance Jackson, 38, bit the girl on the cheek and, with her teeth, lifted her from the cement floor “and shook her like a dog,” French said.
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– Source / Full Story: Beating Death of Ecclesia Girl Described to Jury by Prosecutor, Associated Press via the Los Angeles Times, Apr. 26, 1989 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Clackamas County Sheriffs report:

Six Ecclesia adults were arrested in connection with Dayna Broussard’s death. In October 1988 — after an extensive investigation– four of the six adults were indicted by a Clackamas County Grand Jury of first-degree manslaughter.

During the exhaustive three-month trial that followed, jurors heard testimony about other beatings and strict disciplinary action against other Ecclesia children. The jury, on May 12, 1989, convicted Willie K. Chambers, Brian J. Brinson, Constance Zipporah Jackson and Frederick Paul Doolittle of first- degree manslaughter.

All four were sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Clackamas County judge on June 23, 1989.

But the group’s problems didn’t end there. On April 5, 1990, a federal grand jury in Portland began investigating Ecclesia leaders for possible civil rights violations. The investigation culminated in the Feb. 8, 1991, arrest of Eldridge Broussard and three of his followers on charges of holding ECclesia children in slavery and conspiring to deny them their civil rights.

Broussard and two others — Carolyn Van Brunt and Josie Ruth Faust — were released Feb. 11, pending trial in federal court.

But Eldridge Broussard never made it to trial. The 38-year-old Ecclesia leader was found dead Sept. 5, 1991, in the same Sandy farmhouse where his daughter had been beaten to death three years earlier. A coroner’s report indicated Broussard died of complications related to his diabetes. To the end, Broussard blamed the media and its negative publicity about the Ecclesia Athletic Association for contributing to his daughter’s death and to the disintegration of his group.
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– Source / Full Story: Clackamas County Sheriffs report, Undate,d Oregon State Sheriffs Association — Summarized by Religion News Blog

See Also

Los Angeles Times archive on Ecclesia Athletic Association

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This post was last updated: Monday, December 20, 2010 at 10:02 AM, Central European Time (CET)