A Maryland man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the murder of a mother of four that went unsolved for 40 years.
Howard Jackson Bradberry Jr., 64, was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison by Howard County Circuit Court Judge Richard Bernhardt after he entered an Alford plea in July to a second-degree murder charge over the killing of 28-year-old Laney Lee McGadney in 1982, according to a press release.
An Alford plea allows a defendant to maintain his or her innocence but acknowledges that prosecutors have sufficient evidence to secure a conviction.
McGadney, a mother of four, was seen by witnesses being abducted as she walked to the grocery store in Columbia, Maryland. Her body was discovered hours later in a vacant lot.
Investigators say McGadney was raped and stabbed to death.
Police collected evidence from the scene but were unable to determine a suspect, and the case went cold for decades.
Investigators from the Howard County Police Department recently revisited the evidence, and in 2021, they were able to link Bradberry to the scene using DNA from items discarded at the scene.
“The brutal murder of Laney Lee McGadney fractured her family beyond repair and for 40 years there were very little leads in the case with no one being held responsible for her senseless killing,” State’s Attorney Rich Gibson said in the press release.
“I want to thank Howard County police and our prosecutors for working so diligently on this case. We know today’s sentencing cannot bring back the matriarch of this family, but we do hope it provides some much-needed closure for her 4 kids, 22 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren knowing Bradberry will spend the rest of his life in prison for the innocent life he took and heinous crime he committed.”