Man convicted of his parents' murders claims innocence 16 years on

Gay Texas man convicted of murder for shooting and stabbing his father nine times as well as slashing mother’s neck says he’s innocent 16 years later and blames ‘homophobic jury’ for life sentence

  • Brandon Woodruff, 35, was sentenced to life without parole in 2009, three years after his parents, Dennis, 43, and Norma Woodruff, 42, were killed in Royse City 
  • ABC’s 20/20 episode airing at 8 p.m. on Friday will take a look into Brandon’s claims of innocence after spending more than 16 years behind bars 
  • Bonnie Woodruff, Brandon’s grandmother, has stood by his innocence, paying for his legal fees and supporting his attempts to appeal his conviction
  • Brandon says he was falsely characterized as a wild gay man who was living a double life by the prosecution in order to convince a very conservative jury

A gay man has maintained his innocence sixteen years after he was convicted for the gruesome murder of his parents, claiming anti-gay bias influenced police and the jury in his Texas Bible Belt city. 

Thirty-five-year-old Brandon Woodruff was sentenced to life without parole in 2009, three years after his parents, Dennis, 43, and Norma Woodruff, 42, were found shot dead and with stab wounds at their home in Royse City. 

ABC’s 20/20 episode airing at 8 p.m. on Friday will take a look into Brandon’s claims of innocence after spending more than 16 years behind bars, amid an ongoing review by the Texas Innocence Project in his case.  

The crime and Brandon’s subsequent conviction have brought division to the Woodruff family. 

Bonnie Woodruff, Brandon’s grandmother, has stood by his innocence, paying for his legal fees and supporting his attempts to appeal his conviction. 

Brandon has maintained that he was falsely characterized as a wild gay man who was living a double life by the prosecution in order to convince a very conservative jury that he had committed the crimes. 

Speaking to 20/20’s John Quinones in an exclusive teaser of the upcoming episode, Brandon insisted that the evidence pointed to his innocence. 

‘I’m innocent. I did not kill my parents at all … I think you should look at the totality of the evidence,’ Woodruff told Quinones. 

Thirty-five-year-old Brandon Woodruff was sentenced to life without parole in 2009, three years after his parents, Dennis, 43, and Norma Woodruff, 42, were found shot dead and with stab wounds at their home in Royse City

ABC’s 20/20 episode airing at 8 p.m. on Friday will take a look into Brandon’s claims of innocence after spending more than 16 years behind bars, amid an ongoing review by the Texas Innocence Project in his case

At the time his parents’ bodies were found on October 18, 2005, Brandon was enrolled at Abilene Christian University. 

Dennis and Norma were found at their home in Royse City Texas by a family friend in the living room of the home, where they had recently moved into after Brandon’s high school graduation. 

Records showed that there were no signs of forced entry or stolen items and that the killer had cleaned up in a bathroom of the home before fleeing the scene, local station WFAA reported.

They had bullets and stab wounds to their necks and faces and were believed to have died the prior weekend.

Brandon was arrested six days later after authorities found irregularities in his testimony, investigators said at the time. 

He was believed to be the last person to see Dennis and Norma alive when he shared dinner with them and later left for Abilene. 

Friends of Brando testified that he was supposed to pick them up at 5 p.m. in Dallas the day of the murder for a ride to Abilene University. 

Bonnie Woodruff, Brandon’s grandmother, has stood by his innocence, paying for his legal fees and supporting his attempts to appeal his conviction

Brandon has maintained that he was falsely characterized as a wild gay man who was living a double life by the prosecution in order to convince a very conservative jury that he had committed the crimes

They said Brandon only arrived after 10 p.m. following several missing phone calls and that he acted nervous when they try to go search his bag. 

At the time, Brandon’s defense argued that he was scared of being judged for being gay and that was why he didn’t allow his friends to go over his belongings. 

Authorities also claimed that Brandon was living a double life, skipping college classes and going to Dallas for wild adventures. 

‘I told a lot of people that I really didn’t consider [myself] staying there for [more than] a couple of hours but, you know.  I fed the cats, I fed the dogs … So maybe it did take a little bit longer,’ Brandon told John Quinones. 

He added: ‘I wasn’t sitting there looking at my watch …  I did my best. I told them where I was at. I told them what I did and that is just the truth.’ 

At the time his parents’ bodies were found on October 18, 2005, Brandon was enrolled at Abilene Christian University

Dennis and Norma were found at their home in Royse City Texas by a family friend in the living room of the home, where they had recently moved into after Brandon’s high school graduation

The crime and Brandon’s subsequent conviction have brought division to the Woodruff family

In 2009, a jury found Brandon guilty after hearing from the prosecution that Brandon had killed his parents to receive their life insurance and live freely his ‘secret life’  as a gay man in Dallas. 

He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Recently, the Texas chapter of the Innocent Project took interest in his case, reviewing evidence that could potentially lead the organization to advocate for his claims of innocence. 

The strongest piece of evidence linking Brandon to the murders is a dagger recovered at the crime scene that contained Dennis’ blood.  

Investigators argued that the dagger was the weapon used to stab the couple, but Brando has claimed that his father had accidentally cut his hand with it long before. 

Abc’s 20/20 will explore the evidence against Brandon and his claims that he had nothing to do with his parents’ murder. 

The program will feature interviews with his grandmother, members of the 2009 jury, the deputy director of the Innocence Project of Texas and footage of police interviews. 

The program will air on ABC at 8 p.m Eastern Time and will become available on Hulu Saturday.  

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