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Britton Gets 25 Years for Shotgun Slayings of Family

February 26, 1990 GMT

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (AP) _ A teen-ager who pleaded guilty in the shotgun slayings of his father, mother and 8-year-old brother was sentenced Monday to a minimum 25 years in prison.

Brian Britton, 17, who prosecutors claimed had a fascination with the ″Rambo″ movie character portrayed by actor Sylvester Stallone, showed no emotion when sentenced to 25-years-to-life imprisonment on each of the second- degree murder counts.

Britton, who pleaded guilty Jan. 3, also was sentenced to serve between 8 1-3 to 25 years for the attempted murder of his sister during the March 1989 rampage at the family’s home in Poughkeepsie.


Judge Judith Hillery ordered the sentences to run concurrently. Under New York state law, Britton must serve all of his minimum sentence.

Hillery rejected a plea for leniency from public defender John Garrity Jr., who argued that Britton had been abused at home by an alcoholic father and an overbearing mother. Garrity claimed that Britton had suffered cracked ribs and a broken nose as the result of confrontations with his father.

Pamela Sackett of the Dutchess County Coalition Against Child Abuse said she was disappointed the sentence was not reduced, saying it was ″very clear child abuse played a significant role″ in the slayings.

Assistant Dutchess County District Attorney Thomas Dolan said there was no reason for the slayings other than the ″outrageous rage of a young man.″ He called Britton a calculating killer.

Britton gave ″Rambo″ as his nickname when booked by authorities after the shootings. Prosecutors claimed he was fascinated with the gun-toting Vietnam veteran in the ″Rambo″ movie series, and also kept a range of military paraphernalia in the house, including Army fatigues, canteens and ″Soldier of Fortune″ magazines.

Garrity argued that Britton had been forced by his father to watch violent shows on television, especially about war.