The son of a real estate broker in L.A.’s bucolic San Fernando Valley was charged Tuesday in the slaying of his Realtor father, licensee mother and teenage sister.
Prosecutors charge that Brandon Christopher Menard, 21, stabbed real estate broker David Michael Menard to death in their family home on a quiet cul-de-sac in Northridge late Thursday night or perhaps early Friday morning. Prosecutors say he also used a knife to kill his 55-year-old mother — part-time agent Toni Kathleen Menard — and 16-year-old sister, Ashley.
David Menard, 56, was a licensed real estate broker, according to California Department of Real Estate records, and his wife, Toni Kathleen, worked for him as a licensed real estate salesperson. David had maintained a real estate license since 1994 and Toni had maintained a license since 1997.
If convicted of the three slayings, Brandon Menard could face the death penalty. Los Angeles prosecutor Beth Silverman said Tuesday that the District Attorney’s Office won’t decide whether to seek the death penalty against Brandon Menard until the case moves closer to trial.
Police reports show that Brandon Menard called 9-1-1 Friday, saying that he had come home to find his parents dead in the house and his sister dead in the backyard.
Police arrested him several hours later, suspecting that he had killed them.
Even as prosecutors were in San Fernando Superior Court Tuesday to file the charges against Brandon, neighbors of the Menard family in Northridge were split over whether he could be the one responsible for killing his family.
Some neighbors noted that Brandon Menard liked to bowl and read comic books, listen to rock group “The Who,” earned good grades in high school, and made hand-crafted holiday gifts for his friends.
“I’m just shocked” about the killings, said Carla Loomis, who lives just two doors down from the Menards’ home. “Brandon seems like a good kid, and his family is great.”
But other neighbors saw a darker side to Brandon. He often wore a long trench coat in the Valley’s heat — one neighbor said he nicknamed him “Columbine” — and he reportedly had a spotty work history.
A MySpace.com page apparently set up by Brandon states that he is studying English and philosophy at Pierce College in nearby Woodland Hills and working for “two other companies.”
However, he didn’t provide the name of the companies and a Pierce College spokesperson said Tuesday that there’s no record of his enrollment at the school.
The MySpace profile used the name Mbrandon Von Awkward, and stated that he got along “OK with my parents … unless they’re on one of their schizo stages.”
The local Daily News newspaper reported Brandon had written that the instant messenger phrase he most overused was, “I’m going to kill you.”
He is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 15.