By Barbara Liston
ORLANDO Fla. (Reuters) - A 24-year-old Florida man who fatally shot a deputy investigating a motel robbery in 2012 was sentenced to death by a judge on Friday.
Brandon Bradley was found guilty in April of first degree premeditated murder of a law enforcement officer in the death of Brevard County Deputy Barbara Pill.
"I just want to say I'm sorry to the family and friends of Deputy Pill," Bradley said at his sentencing in Viera on Florida's east coast, according to the Florida Today newspaper.
Brevard County Judge Morgan Reinman followed a recommendation from the jury in sentencing Bradley to death.
Bradley and his then-girlfriend, Andria Kerchner, 22, were stopped on March 6, 2012 by Pill, a 30-year law enforcement veteran following reports of a motel robbery.
The staff at an EconoLodge reported the two were trying to steal furniture from one of the motel rooms, authorities said.
Unbeknownst to Pill, Bradley and Kerchner both had long criminal histories, according to Sheriff J. R. "Jack" Parker. Bradley spent time in prison for violent felonies and had four pending warrants for his arrest at the time of the shooting, Parker said.
Bradley refused to obey Pill's commands to get out of his car. Pill got on her radio, and was calling for back-up when officers listening to the radio transmission and neighbors reported hearing the multiple gunshots that killed her, the sheriff said.
Kerchner testified as part of a plea deal in January under which she was sentenced to 12 years in prison, court records show.
By the time Pill's back-up arrived, the pair had fled. They were caught after a Melbourne police officer threw stop sticks in the road and caused their car to careen into a ditch.
Parker described Pill, who also worked in law enforcement in Miami Dade as "one of the kindest, nicest people you'd ever want to meet."
(Editing by David Adams and Sandra Maler)