Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
West Valley City teen accused of killing stepfather ordered to stand trial
Courts » Rosco Brackett is charged with murder in death of James Michael George.
First Published Jan 22 2014 07:13 pm • Last Updated Jan 22 2014 07:13 pm

A teenager accused of killing his stepfather last year pleaded not guilty Wednesday after a judge ordered him to stand trial.

Rosco Dewayne Brackett was charged as an adult with first-degree felony murder, felony discharge of a firearm and obstructing justice for allegedly killing his stepfather, hiding the gun and tossing the shirt he was wearing when he was 16 years old.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Now 18, Brackett stood before a judge Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to all charges.

He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

As he was led out of the courtroom in shackles, the skinny teen turned briefly to offer a small smile to his older brother seated in the gallery.

Third District Judge Robin Reese bound over the case against Brackett, ruling that prosecutors presented enough evidence to show probable cause.

Reese based his decision largely on testimony from an October hearing at which Brackett’s mother, Gina George, tearfully testified about her husband’s death and son’s arrest.

Gina George told the judge that she was in the bathroom on Sept. 13, 2012, when she heard a bang. She was the only other person home with her son and 52-year-old James Michael George.

"I was in the bathroom the whole time — until I heard gunfire. Then I was in a panic," Gina George said. "I saw my husband’s head toward the bathroom door, facedown in a puddle of blood."

Brackett told police that he and his stepfather had been arguing in their home, near 3700 South and 6800 West, about school and his efforts to obtain his GED. He changed his story twice, officers said.

story continues below
story continues below

First he said he was in his room when his stepfather was shot and had nothing to do with the shooting. Later, police said, Brackett recanted and told officers he had pulled the trigger himself.

According to officers who interviewed the boy, Brackett said the two had been arguing when George lunged at him and then turned into the bedroom, where the family stored several firearms.

"He thought Jim was going to get his gun," testified West Valley City detective John Pittman. "So, [Rosco] went to retrieve a gun he knew was in the living room next to the front door."

He fired one warning shot over his stepfather’s head, Brackett told the detective.

That’s when James George allegedly wheeled around, exclaimed, "What the hell," and grabbed the boy. He hit him several times, Brackett told police, though officers were unable to find any bruising or marks on the boy’s body.

James George suffered gunshot wounds to the head. He died the next morning in a hospital.

Family members of the victim testified in October that the defendant and his stepfather had a "strained" relationship.

The mother told Reese her husband never much cared for her son, whom he saw as "baggage."

She characterized her husband as controlling and demanding — a man who did not want her to work and refused to let her leave the house after he returned home for the evening.

At the time James George was killed, the woman said, she had been planning to leave with her son and return to her family in Missouri.

Brackett continues to be held in the Salt Lake County jail, with bail set at $1 million.

Next Page >

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.