Beranton Whisenant Jr. was an American federal prosecutor.
Early life and career
Whisenant graduated from the University of Florida Law School in 2004. He also studied shortly at the University of Cape Town. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2004 and remained an active member.
For nine years he worked at a private law firm, Foley & Mansfield Partner, in Miami. At Foley & Mansfield Partner he worked on cases of civil litigation, product liability, contracts, personal injury, wrongful death, and medical malpractice defense. His next job was as Assistant State Attorney in Jacksonville, Florida, his hometown. He joined the United States Attorney's Office in Miami in January 2017.
He lived in Miramar, Florida a suburb of Miami. He was an active member of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Professionalism Panel and Chair of The Florida Bar’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee in Division ‘L. He was a member of the William Reece Smith Jr. Leadership Academy as well as a member of The Florida Bar’s Judicial Nominations Procedure committee and of the Florida Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism. He was a guest teacher at the University of Miami Paralegal Program and the University of Miami School of Law and Florida Coastal School of Law. Whisenant volunteered at Habitat for Humanity and volunteered as a lawyer, for pro bono legal work.
Beranton Whisenant worked in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami in its major crimes unit. The office prosecutes criminal and civil cases from Fort Pierce to Key West. He was reportedly working on visa and passport fraud cases prior to his death.
The body of Beranton Whisenant was found on a Florida beach with possible head trauma or possible head gunshot wound. Miranda Grossman, a Hollywood police spokeswoman, reported that his body was found at 6:30 am May 25, by a passerby on the city's beach. He was wearing a dress shirt and black pants. Hollywood police detectives working to determine if the death was a homicide, suicide or something else. All of Whisenant personal effects were on his body, so robbery is not a motive.
Whisenant was 37 years old. He had been a U.S. Attorney for only five months. His memorial service was held on June 1, 2017 at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Miami. Whisenant was survived by his three children, his wife, Ebony, a doctor who teaches at Florida International University’s medical school, and his parents, both Jacksonville physicians.
The U.S. attorney’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) determined that his death had no connection to his employment as a prosecutor or his federal criminal cases, leaving the death investigation to the Hollywood Police Department. Hollywood police and the Broward medical examiner’s office declined numerous public records requests on Whisenant’s death.
- Law.com, Foley & Mansfield Partner-Turned-Federal Prosecutor Found Dead on Beach, law.com, May 26, 2017.
- Federal prosecutor found dead on Florida beach, Foxnews, May 25, 2017.
- CBS News, Federal prosecutor Beranton Whisenant Jr. found dead on Florida beach, cbsnews.com, May 26, 2017.
- Federal prosecutor found dead as his body mysteriously floated in waves on Florida beach, nydailynews.com, May 26, 2017.
- Prosecutor found dead on Hollywood beach is remembered at services, sun-sentinel.com, June 2, 2017.
- miamiherald.com, Mysterious death of federal prosecutor on Hollywood beach ruled a suicide, By Elizabeth Koh and Jay Weaver, August 10, 2017
- Jay Weaver and David Ovalle: Month later, no answers in case of federal prosecutor found dead on Florida beach, Miami Herald, June 26, 2017
- The Far Right's Fake News Story of the Week Has Hijacked the Tragic Death of Beranton Whisenant, Newsweek, June 1, 2017<