PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The mother of a 35-year-old woman who prosecutors said was murdered gave a tearful statement before a judge as part of a sentencing hearing on Friday.
Tiffany Jenks was shot once in the forehead on Oct. 8, 2013 outside the entrance to Blue Lake Park in Fairview, Ore., senior deputy district attorney Chris Ramras said.
Michelle Worden-Brosey pleaded no contest on June 24, 2014 to two counts of hindering prosecution. Ramras said he is asking for three years in prison.
The following account is based on Ramras’ presentation Friday before Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Henry Kantor.
Worden-Brosey has drastically changed her appearance since being booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center.
The defense is expected to argue that Worden-Brosey has genuine remorse and that she has a long history of mental health problems. However, Ramras said “there is good reason to question that.”
A ‘gifted’ young woman
Tiffany Jenks was “gifted academically, mentally and physically,” Ramras said. She was a star track-and-field runner for her high school team. Tiffany’s mother said her daughter won state her sophomore year in the 1,500 meter dash. She was the second oldest of six children.
“I have her scrapbook from university with flyers for her running for student government…and winning,” Kate Johnson, Tiffany’s mother said. “But I don’t have her.”
Tiffany received a Bachelor’s of Science in physics and geology and a Master’s in economics. She had worked as a physical scientist at the Bonneville Power Administration until 2012.
Her mother said she called her job “running the river.”
“I have so many awards she won, but I don’t have her,” Tiffany’s mother said.
When Tiffany’s father died in 2010, she struggled with substance abuse.
“It was that substance abuse that likely led her to meet Ms. Worden-Brosey and the people who Ms. Worden-Brosey travelled with,” Ramras said.
Two men come to Portland
Worden-Brosey and Joshua Robinett met about 20 years ago. They kept in close contact and around October 2013 decided to get married.
The plan called for Robinett to drive up to Oregon on Oct. 7, 2013. Worden-Brosey would drive down from Washington. The two would meet and then they would go off and get married.
Robinett told Worden-Brosey that he was bringing a friend, Daniel Bruynell. The two men had met in Oakland, California. Robinett wanted to sell two guns: one Robinett had, the other Worden-Brosey had.
Worden-Brosey rented a motel room near the airport. She decided that around 9 p.m. on Oct. 7, 2013 that she would drive down to Woodburn to pick up the two men after their vehicle got a flat tire.
Worden-Brosey decided to have an impromptu bachelor’s party.
The three ended up going to Falco’s Pub and Mystic Strip Club, located in Southeast Portland around 12 a.m. on Oct. 8, 2013.
Meeting 3 new people
Jenks met Bruynell, Robinett and Worden-Brosey around 1:40 a.m. at Falco’s.
“Mrs. Worden-Brosey approached my sister that night and initiated a conversation,” JJ Jenks, Tiffany’s brother said. “Tiffany would have never left that establishment otherwise.”
The four got into a vehicle and started driving around, Ramras said.
Blue Lake Park: The scene of the crime
Police said Bruynell is the person who shot Jenks.
“She was left on the side of the road, essentially, like a bag of trash,” Ramras said.
Two separate people who live in the area of the park told police they heard what sounded like a gunshot around 2:30 a.m. Oct. 8, 2013.
Bruynell, according to court documents, admitted to shooting Jenks, and told police that Robinett and Worden-Brosey “even congratulated him” on shooting Jenks.
Helping an accused murderer get away
As police worked to identify Tiffany and notify her family, Worden-Brosey was helping Bruynell leave the state, officials said.
During a 7-hour long interview with police, Worden-Brosey tried to create a fictional account of what had occurred, and claimed that the group had met a fifth man who was with Tiffany at Blue Lake Park, Ramras said.
It was only until detectives told her they had surveillance video of the four getting into the vehicle that Worden-Brosey started to change her story.
“She drove Mr. Bruynell to a bus station knowing that he possessed the murder weapon because she had been instrumental in selling it to him,” Ramras said.
Ramras said Worden-Brosey did “absolutely nothing” to alert anyone about the crime, even after seeing police officers at the bus station.
Death, then marriage
After the shooting, Worden-Brosey drove everyone back to her motel room and they arrived around 3:38 a.m., police said. Worden-Brosey claims the group grabbed some beer and went right back to the motel room, but Ramras disagrees. He, and investigators, believes that the three were talking about the shooting.
Ramras said by driving Bruynell around, and not telling police about the shooting Worden-Brosey committed the act of hindering prosecution.
“If she’s really afraid of this guy, she can go make a phone call, unbeknownst to him, and alert the police to what’s happened,” Ramras said.
After dropping Bruynell off at the bus stop around 12:06 p.m. on Oct. 8, 2013, Worden-Brosey and Robinett drove to the Columbia County Courthouse to get a marriage license.
“One would assume there’s law enforcement present that she could talk to at that point if she had choose to do that,” Ramras said. “Instead, she took definite steps to try to hide herself and Mr. Robinett from law enforcement.”
A fascination with death; 2 guns with nicknames
Ramras said Worden-Brosey was “interested in death” in a “sort of unnatural fashion.”
Worden-Brosey worked as a mortuary assistant and “glorified death,” Ramras said.
“This is someone who works with deceased bodies and who sees families’ grief. Her more than most people should know the right thing to do.”
Ramras showed a picture found on Worden-Brosey’s phone from a Halloween in which she dressed up as a corpse and held a real gun.
Police later recovered the gun. It was one of two that were found during the investigation.
The prosecutor said the gun in the picture was nicknamed by Worden-Brosey and Robinett said “Bonnie.” The other gun, the one used to kill Tiffany with, was named “Clyde,” Ramras said.
“Clyde” is a .357 revolver and was found in California upon Bruynell’s arrest.
“The majority of her life has been to glorify this particular lifestyle,” Ramras said.
Worden-Brosey finally admitted to selling the gun to Bruynell after hours of police questioning. She said the plan was to use the money to get a marriage license.
ORS 162.325: Hindering Prosecution
Under Oregon law, a conviction of hindering prosecution comes with a presumptive penalty of probation.
Ramras said he’s asking for the three year prison sentence because of the seriousness of the murder, and the actions Worden-Brosey took to hide the crime.
Worden-Brosey was described by the prosecutor as “the type of person who is very good at trying to garner sympathy.”
Bruynell: Trial awaits
Bruynell’s trial is currently scheduled for January but may likely be moved to July 2015, court records show. The case will be heard by Judge Kantor. Bruynell was arrested by the United States Marshals Office in Oakland, California and then sent back to Oregon. A Multnomah County grand jury indicted him with one count of murder. On Monday, October 28, 2013, he made his first court appearance and entered a not guilty plea.
Defense’s case delayed
During Friday’s hearing, which was expected to last only an hour, Kantor notified those in the courtroom that Worden-Brosey’s hearing would need to be interrupted because it was going over the allotted time. The judge has scheduled the hearing to resume September 11, 2014. It is expected several people who testify before Kantor will counter the state’s presentation.
Robinett will be sentenced in October after pleading guilty to two counts of hindering prosecution. He and Worden-Brosey both remain out of custody.