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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 3:27 pm | Fair 69º


Attorneys Make Opening Statements in Trial of Man Who Shot His Parents in Orcutt

The defense for Brian Keith Reid argues that he 'began to lose his mind' after allegations that his father molested his daughters and tried to cover it up

Defendant Brian Keith Reid, left, stands by his attorney, Robert Ikola from the Public Defender’s Office, during the trial Tuesday in Santa Maria.
Defendant Brian Keith Reid, left, stands by his attorney, Robert Ikola from the Public Defender’s Office, during the trial Tuesday in Santa Maria. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A man’s fatal shooting of his father and wounding of his mother at an Orcutt park in 2012 is either a case of “vigilante justice” or a “heat of passion” act amid allegations the victims were covering up molestation claims, attorneys said in Brian Keith Reid’s murder trial.

Opening statements occurred Tuesday morning in the Santa Barbara County Superior Court jury trial in Santa Maria before Judge Rogelio Flores.

Senior Deputy Defense Attorney Kevin Duffy said Reid “willfully premeditated” the Sept. 3, 2012, attack on his parents, William Forrest Reid and Pamela Reid, who had lived in the Santa Maria Valley for several decades.

Reid shot his father and mother at Orcutt Community Park in what Duffy called “a case of vigilante justice” as dozens of people gathered in the waning hours of Labor Day weekend.

Duffy noted that the allegations that the defendant’s father molested Reid’s daughters first arose in 2005 — the shootings occurring 2,513 days later.

But Reid’s defense attorney, Robert Ikola, said the number 2,513 represents “the days of living hell for Mr. Brian Reid and his family.”

The prosecutor said that the fact William Forrest Reid molested his sleeping granddaughters is not in question, adding the man admitted some of the incidents in the days before the shooting. He was interviewed by law enforcement a few days before he was killed. 

On Labor Day, the defendant and his parents went to the park for a barbecue to celebrate his birthday, with Brian Reid taking the weapon with him.

“He armed himself for this occasion,” Duffy said.

Reid used a .40-caliber Glock to shoot his father multiple times, coldly looking at his victim and saying, “I’m going to kill you,” Duffy said.

The defendant “did exactly what he said he would going to do,” Duffy said, adding Pamela Reid heard her son’s statement. “She’s clear the defendant said, ‘I’m going to kill you,’ as he fired away as her husband.”

The last shot struck William Forrest Reid in the back, Duffy said, adding, “He wants to make sure his father’s life is over.”

As the man pointed the gun at his mother, “she starts running for her life,” Duffy said, adding Pamela Reid will testify in the trial. 

After the shooting, Brian Reid fled and abandoned his vehicle on the Stowell Road overpass, getting a ride to Marian Regional Medical Center from passers-by after claiming he had been poisoned. Later, Reid had said he was being poisoned by carbon monoxide or by his food and beverages.

“He can’t really keep his story straight,” Duffy said. 

Reid previously lived in Arizona with his three young daughters and wife, but moved back in mid-2012 in his parents’ Santa Maria home when his family fell apart. 

During a post-shooting interview, Dufffy said Reid told a law enforcement officer, “This is not about my daughters. I thought my parents were trying to kill me.”

The defense attorney said that instead of first-degree murder, his client is guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

“What is going to be argued in this trial is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” Ikola said. 

The serial molestation of Reid’s daughters provoked him into acting after his children lost their innocence and the defendant lost his job, marriage and home.

“The provocation was so great that Mr. Reid eventually lost his sanity,” Ikola said. 

The molestations occurred when the girls — now ages 18, 23 and 24 — stayed overnight with their grandparents in Santa Maria or hotels. Ikola said the inappropriate touching took place when the girls slept.

“The girls pretended to be asleep and did not say anything because they were ashamed,” Ikola said.

He also told the jury he would show them writings from the shooting victims, including an alleged letter of apology.

Pamela Reid attempted to manipulate Brian Reid to protect her husband, Ikola said, quoting one letter saying, “How long do you want dad to beg for your forgiveness?”

“He would be happy if you could toss him a crumb of compassion, she writes,” Ikola added. 

The molestation victims didn’t want to testify about what had happened, but by 2012 were no longer afraid, he added.

The failure to address the molestations took a toll on the family, Ikola said, adding the defendant began to drink alcohol a lot and smoked spice or synthetic marijuana.

“What happens is he began to lose his mind,” Ikola added. 

Reid thought his parents were trying to get rid of him to prevent him from testifying, Ikola said.

“Evidence is gong to clearly show Brian Reid was delusional on the day of the shooting ... ,” the defense attorney said. “He was thrown over the edge.”

In the afternoon, the prosecution began calling witnesses, including a Santa Maria police commander who went to the park minutes after the shooting. Cmdr. Kendall Greene was summoned to the site by his son, who was at the park with a friend. 

Greene arrived to find Pamela Reid with multiple gunshot wounds and began asking her questions in what the veteran police officer believed was the woman’s dying declaration.

Asked who shot them, Greene said, “She told me that it was her son,” and identified him by name.

Greene asked why son shot the parents. “She looked over at his direction and said he was going to testify.” 

“She alluded to that Brian touched the daughters,” Greene added.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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