Murder of Kyle Dinkheller

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Murder of Kyle Dinkheller
Trafficstop1.jpg
Dashcam footage from Dinkheller's cruiser moments before the shootout
Date January 12, 1998 (1998-01-12)
Location Whipple Crossing Road
Laurens County, Georgia, U.S.
Coordinates 32°31′03″N 83°04′42″W / 32.517443°N 83.078321°W / 32.517443; -83.078321Coordinates: 32°31′03″N 83°04′42″W / 32.517443°N 83.078321°W / 32.517443; -83.078321
Participants Kyle W. Dinkheller, Andrew H. Brannan
Outcome Andrew H. Brannan injured, Kyle W. Dinkheller dead
Deaths Kyle W. Dinkheller
Non-fatal injuries Andrew H. Brannan
Suspect(s) Andrew H. Brannan
Charges Murder
Verdict Guilty
Sentence Death

On Monday, January 12, 1998, near the end of his shift, Deputy Kyle Dinkheller of the Laurens County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) in the U.S. state of Georgia, pulled over motorist Andrew Howard Brannan, for speeding. A verbal confrontation escalated to a shootout resulting in Brannan murdering the Deputy. Dinkheller's murder continues to get national attention (e.g., training in police academies) because the stop and shootout were captured on a personal video recorder Deputy Dinkheller had placed on his patrol car dashboard and activated when he stopped Brannan.

In the shootout, Dinkheller was armed with his semi-automatic service handgun, and Brannan had an M1 Carbine rifle. Dinkheller shot and wounded Brannan. Despite this, Brannan fired the rifle, reloaded it, fired a lethal shot into Dinkheller's eye, and fled the scene in his Toyota truck. The next morning, police found Brannan still in Laurens County, Georgia, hiding in a sleeping bag beneath a camouflage tarp. Police arrested Brannan for the murder of Deputy Kyle Dinkheller.

Brannan pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, claiming in part that he suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stemming from his military service as a soldier in the Vietnam War. Because Deputy Dinkheller's video recorded most of Brannan's actions, the jury found he murdered Dinkheller in a premeditated, torturous, and cruel manner.[1] Two years following the murder, on January 28, 2000, the jury found Brannan guilty of murder. On January 30, 2000, Brannan was sentenced to death. Nearly fifteen years later, on January 13, 2015, the State of Georgia executed Brannan by lethal injection.[2]

Confrontation and shootout[edit]

Dinkheller encountered a speeding Toyota pickup truck near Dudley, Georgia, which he clocked at around 98 miles per hour (158 km/h). The deputy pulled the truck over on Whipple Crossing Road, adjacent to Interstate 16. The traffic stop at first appeared to be routine with both the deputy and Brannan exiting their vehicles and exchanging greetings. Brannan, however, placed both hands into his pockets at which point Dinkheller instructed him to remove his hands and keep them in plain view.

At this point, Brannan became belligerent and yelled at the deputy to shoot him. He then began to dance and wave his arms in the middle of the road. Dinkheller radioed the dispatcher for assistance and issued commands for Brannan to cease his behavior and approach the cruiser. When Brannan saw that the deputy was calling for other units, he ran toward the deputy in an aggressive manner. Dinkheller retreated while issuing commands and utilized his baton to keep Brannan at bay. On Dinkheller's dashcam video, Brannan was heard shouting that he was a "Goddamned Vietnam combat veteran."

Despite commands issued by Dinkheller, Brannan walked back to his pickup truck and drew an M1 carbine from underneath the driver's seat, taking cover near the driver side door. Dinkheller positioned himself near the passenger door of his cruiser and gave Brannan commands for approximately 40 seconds before Brannan stepped away from his pickup truck, pointing his M1 carbine at Dinkheller and fired shots. Dinkheller fired the first shot at Brannan but missed. Dinkheller did not strike the suspect initially and thus was forced to reload.

At this point, Brannan ran from his pickup truck toward the deputy and began to fire again, hitting Dinkheller in exposed areas such as the arms and legs. Brannan then began to reload his weapon as the now injured Dinkheller tried to position himself near the driver side door of his cruiser. Another shot from Dinkheller was heard. Brannan began advance firing at the deputy, hitting him numerous times. Before being disabled from gunfire, Dinkheller was able to inflict a gunshot wound to the stomach of Brannan. Dinkheller had been shot nine times when Brannan took careful aim, said, "Die fucker," and fired a final fatal shot into Dinkheller's right eye.[3]

Brannan then retreated into his pickup truck and fled the scene.[4][5]

Aftermath[edit]

Brannan was arrested the next morning without incident; he told the investigating authorities that "they can hang me".[6] Brannan was found guilty on January 28, 2000, for the murder of Dinkheller and was sentenced to death.[7] On January 2, 2015, The Georgia Department of Corrections announced that an execution date of January 13 had been set for Brannan.[8][9] On January 6, 2015, a clemency hearing was set for January 12, 2015. At the hearing, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles voted to deny clemency. On January 13, 2015, Brannan was executed by lethal injection, the first person in the U.S. to be executed in 2015.[10]

Victim[edit]

Kyle W. Dinkheller
Kyledinkheller.jpg
Kyle Dinkheller
Native name Kyle Wayne Dinkheller
Born (1975-06-18)June 18, 1975
San Diego, California[11]
Died January 12, 1998(1998-01-12) (aged 22)
Whipple Crossing Road
Laurens County, Georgia, U.S.
Resting place Space 3, Lot 18, Garden of Remembrance, Fountainhead Memorial Park
Brevard County, Florida, U.S.[12]
Alma mater Quartz Hill High School (1993)[11]
Relatives Angela Dinkheller (wife)
Ashley Dinkheller (daughter)
Cody Dinkheller (son)
Awards 1998 Deputy Sheriff of the Year, Georgia Sheriffs' Association (posthumously)[13]
Police career
Current status Deceased
Department Laurens County Sheriff's Office[11]
Badge number 37
Country  United States of America[11]
Allegiance  State of Georgia[11]
Years of service March 1995 – January 1998[11]
Rank Basic Patrol Officer[11]

Kyle Wayne Dinkheller was a deputy with the Laurens County Sheriff's Office in the U.S. state of Georgia. After his death, he was named the 1998 Deputy Sheriff of the Year by the Georgia Sheriffs' Association.[13]

Dinkheller was born on June 18, 1975 in San Diego, California. He was of German descent.[11] He graduated from California's Quartz Hill High School in 1993. He joined the Laurens County Sheriff's Office as a jailer in March 1995 and became a certified police officer with the State of Georgia in 1996.[11] He was 22 years old when he was murdered.

Dinkheller is survived by his wife, Angela, and their children Ashley and Cody. Cody Dinkheller was born eight months after his father's death, Ashley was twenty-two months old. Kyle Dinkheller is buried in Space 3, Lot 18 in the Garden of Remembrance at Fountainhead Memorial Park in Brevard County, Florida.[12]

Perpetrator[edit]

Andrew H. Brannan
Andrew Howard Brannan (1970).png
Brannan in 1970, serving as a U.S. Army artillery officer during the Vietnam War.
Born Andrew Howard Brannan
November 26, 1948
Died January 13, 2015(2015-01-13) (aged 66)
Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison,[14]near Jackson, Georgia, U.S.[14]
Nationality Irish American
Occupation Soldier
Criminal penalty Death
Criminal status Convicted of murder, sentenced to death, and executed by lethal injection.
Military career
Allegiance  United States of America[14]
Service/branch  United States Army[14]
Years of service 1968–1975[N 1][14][15][16][17]
Rank US Army O2 shoulderboard rotated.svg First lieutenant[14]
Unit USA - Army Field Artillery Insignia.png Field Artillery Branch
82nd Airborne Division DUI.png 82nd Airborne Division[17]
AmericalDUI.svg 23rd Infantry Division[17]
Battles/wars Vietnam War[14][16]
Awards Bronze Star Medal ribbon.svg Bronze Star Medal[15][16]
Army Commendation Medal ribbon.svg Army Commendation Medal (2)[16]

Early life and education[edit]

Andrew Howard Brannan was born on November 26, 1948 and graduated from college in 1968.

Career[edit]

In August 1968, Brannan joined the United States Army and received his induction training at Fort Benning in Georgia. In February 1969, he entered the artillery officer candidate school at Oklahoma's Fort Sill and was commissioned as an artillery officer in July 1969.[17] While he was still in the United States, Brannan served with the 82nd Airborne Division. In July 1969, he was ordered to South Vietnam to serve in the Vietnam War, where he served in the Field Artillery Branch as a forward observer and executive officer with the 23rd Infantry Division at Chu Lai until July 1971.[17] During this time, he witnessed an officer being killed after stepping on a landmine, an incident he later recalled at a psychiatric interview in 1989.[17] He also assumed command of a company on two occasions, after its commander was killed.[17] Afterwards, Brannan arrived at Washington's Fort Lewis, where he transferred to the U.S. Army Reserve, in which he served periodically for two weeks at a time until being discharged in June 1975.[17]

During his time in the U.S. Army, Brannan was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and two instances of the Army Commendation Medal.[17] While in the military, Brannan's superiors spoke favorably of him, saying that he was an "outstanding" and "exemplary" officer.[17]

Later life and death[edit]

Brannan suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as the result of serving in battle.[17] In 1975, Brannan was married, although the couple divorced six years later as a result of his PTSD.[17] A psychologist for the defense during Brannan's murder trial indicated that the bizarre encounter with Dinkheller in January 1998 "was likely the result of a flashback to Brannan's time in combat." In 1994, the Department of Veterans Affairs had declared Brannan 100% disabled for experiencing depression and bipolar disorder.[14]


Although Brannan's lawyers tried to get his death sentence commuted on the grounds that he was not criminally responsible for his conviction by reason of insanity, both the Georgia Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene on his behalf on the day his execution was scheduled to take place.[15] Brannan was executed by lethal injection at 8:33 p.m. (EST) on January 13, 2015. He was 66 years old at the time of his death at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison near Jackson, Georgia.[18] He made a final statement, in which he said "I extend my condolences to the Dinkheller family, especially Kyle's parents and his wife and his two children" and "I feel like my status was slow torture for the last 15 years. I had to say that with them here. I have to tell the truth. I'm certainly glad to be leaving."[15] A pastor then delivered a prayer and Brannan was executed.[15]

In popular culture[edit]

  • The incident is the focus of the 2014 short film, Random Stop.[19] [20]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ August 1, 1968 to June 7, 1971 in the Regular Army. June 7, 1971 to June 4, 1975 in the United States Army Reserve.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kyle Wayne Dinkheller". Find a Grave. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ Officer Down Memorial Page (2014). "Deputy Kyle Wayne Dinkheller". ODMP Remembers. Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Supreme Court of Georgia, HALL v. BRANNAN". FindLaw. Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  4. ^ jorgement (January 11, 2010). GRAPHIC: Deputy Kyle Dinkheller. Self-published via LiveLeak. Retrieved May 8, 2012. 
  5. ^ Only4Ganja (March 11, 2010). Police Vs Vietnam Veteran [Police Shootout 1998 footage]. Self-published via YouTube. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Kovac, Joe, Jr. (January 13, 2015). "'They can hang me,' Laurens cop killer once said". The Telegraph. Macon, Georgia: The Telegraph. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Dinkheller Case Before Supreme Court". Dublin Courier Herald. Dublin, Georgia. 2008. Archived from the original on May 9, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Georgia Department of Corrections". Georgia Department of Corrections. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "Andrew H. Brannan v. GDCP Warden" (PDF). United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Atlanta, Georgia: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. August 8, 2013. Archived from the original on May 9, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  10. ^ Berman, Dave (March 11, 2012). "After the grief, police learn from tragedies". Florida Today. Gannett. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i State of Georgia (April 20, 1998). "HR 807". House of Representatives of the State of Georgia. State of Georgia: Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Georgia. Archived from the original on February 18, 2015. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Fahey, C. (January 23, 2010). "Kyle Wayne Dinkheller". Find a Grave. Find a Grave. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  13. ^ a b "Sheriff returns from training conference". Walker County Messenger. September 11, 1998. p. 2. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Lamothe, Dan (January 13, 2015). "Vietnam veteran Andrew Brannan executed for murder after PTSD defense fails". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: The Washington Post. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Pramati, Phillip (January 13, 2015). "Brannan put to death for killing Laurens County deputy". The Telegraph. Macon, Georgia: The Telegraph. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c d Brumack, Kate (January 13, 2015). "Andrew Brannan Executed For Killing of Sheriff's Deputy in Georgia". Associated Press. Associated Press. Archived from the original on January 14, 2015. Retrieved January 14, 2015. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Kammer, Brian S.; Loveland, L. Joseph (April 7, 2014). "Andrew Howard Brannan v. Carl Humphrey" (PDF). On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Atlanta, Georgia: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Archived from the original on January 20, 2015. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  18. ^ Sakuma, Amanda (14 January 2015). "Vietnam vet with PTSD Andrew Brannan first man executed in 2015". MSNBC. NBC Universal. MSNBC News. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  19. ^ "This Reenactment of a Violent Shootout Feels Like a Game—and That's the Point". Motherboard. Vice Media, LLC. July 3, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Random Stop on Vimeo". March 25, 2014. Retrieved June 15, 2016. 

External links[edit]