Brandon Ashley Hendricks
A Soddy Daisy man on Wednesday afternoon was sentenced to 35 years in prison for murdering his wife in front of their seven-year-old son.
Brandon Ashley Hendricks, 42, also got a concurrent 15 years for aggravated child endangerment.
The family was on their way to celebrate the son's seventh birthday.
Hendricks was charged with premeditated first-degree murder. He entered a negotiated plea to second-degree murder. In doing so, he gave up the right to file any appeals.
The sentence is to be served at 100 percent, though he could be eligible for up to 15 percent credit for good behavior.
The plea was taken after two different mental health experts examined Hendricks and both concluded that a plea of insanity could not be sustained.
District Attorney Coty Wamp said on July 14, 2018, the couple began to argue as they headed to Walmart to pick up food for the party. She said at some point Joanie Brady Hendricks stopped the car on Dayton Boulevard in Soddy Daisy. At that point her husband pulled out a Taurus Judge handgun and fired five shots at his wife. All the shots struck her either in the neck or head. She said one of the shots was within three inches of the victim. The other four were at a range of 12-18 inches.
She said the bullets were similar to those used in a rifle since they contained pellets that made them more deadly.
DA Wamp said Hendricks then called 911 as did a man who came up on the scene.
Hendricks addressed the large crowd in the courtroom of Judge Amanda Dunn - including many members of the Hendricks family as well as the Brady family.
He said, "I am so, so sorry that this happened. I wish I could take it back.
"I think about her every day. She's the girl that I married. She's the girl that I loved."
Hendricks added, "I don't know what happened. I please ask you to forgive me. I'll be sorry until the day I die for all the hurt I caused my family and friends."
The victim's mother, Gina Brady, said she had just taken a trip to Hawaii with her daughters the week before the tragedy.
She told Hendricks, "I'll never understand how you could be so mean and take Joanie's life. I hope you suffer while you are in prison, and I will pray that you get no rest or peace."
Amanda Jones, sister of the victim, said, "I don't think 35 years is enough for you. It will never sit right with me how you could take her life and leave her lifeless body lying there covered with blood."
Then his young son took the stand, saying he wanted to ask why he did it. Hendricks replied, "I don't know. I just snapped."
The son said Hendricks had been cruel to the family prior to the shooting.
He said he remembered that day seeing his father load the gun. He said, "I asked you why you were doing that. You told me you were doing it 'to protect us.' "