Judge Keeps Consecutive Life Terms for Cahaba Heights Man

A Cahaba Heights man will not have his four consecutive life sentences altered ruled a Birmingham judge on Thursday.  Brandon Bearden, now 30-years-old, was sentenced back in 2006 by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Gloria Bahakel to the four consecutive life terms for felony convictions and three-and-a-half more years on four misdemeanor counts.

In 2005, Bearden fled from police twice while high on drugs.  Police shot at him on one of the days he fled, which resulted in a wreck that killed his girlfriend and severely injured another driver.

Bearden’s lawyers had asked Circuit Judge Bill Cole to change the life terms to run concurrently, or at the same time.  His lawyers agree that Bearden deserves punishment, but making the terms consecutive was too harsh and would also hamper Bearden’s parole chances.

Judge Cole ruled against the request.  He stated that the trial judge was in the best position to evaluate the evidence against Bearden and set his punishment.  Cole said that although it was a tough sentence, it  does not mean it was not warranted by the facts of the case and I don’t know if I would have sentenced him the same, but I will let the sentence hold.

On the morning of May 4, 2005, Bearden, while at the family’s home in Cahaba Heights, was recovering after paramedics revived him after a drug overdose.

He then took his brother’s truck.  After he drove off in his brother’s truck, his brother filed a report saying the defendant was using his truck without permission.  The defendant, after his brother tracked him down, ran from a police officer who had arrived to arrest him.  Bearden then stole a delivery truck and tried to drive through the fences separating neighbors’ yards to escape.

Bearden managed to escape even though three Vestavia Hills police officers opened fire on the truck.  Driving through the neighborhood, he forced a vehicle off the road with a mother and child inside.

The next day, the police again chased Bearden.   This chase ended in a head-on collision that killed Jordan Reid and injured Charles Nader.

The Alabama Court of Appeals upheld Bearden’s convictions and sentences in 2007.