H. Rose Schneider
UTICA, N.Y. – The New York man charged with killing 17-year-old Utica teen Bianca Devins pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder.
Brandon Clark, 22 of Bridgeport, appeared Monday in Oneida County Court. With his plea, Clark admitted to stabbing and killing Devins on July 14 in Utica and posting photos of her body on social media.
Clark is now facing 25 years to life in prison.
“I know she didn’t deserve what happened to her,” Clark said Monday morning, dressed in a gray suit he requested. “And I think that I need to realize that what I did I can’t undo, as much as I want to, and I need to face it. And I apologize to all the people that knew and loved her. I apologize to everybody affected by this.”
With the plea, a charge of first-degree promoting prison contraband was also dropped. Corrections officers allegedly found a sharpened toothbrush in Clark’s possession during a cell search in December.
Oneida County Assistant District Attorney Sarah DeMellier said the charge of promoting prison contraband could have added an additional 2⅓ to seven years detained.
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“By satisfying that charge, we’re able to protect against a couple things,” she said. “Obviously, Brandon Clark is going to be going to prison for a long time – 25 years to life.”
She said he waived his right to appeal with the plea, while the plea itself demonstrated he had effective assistance from counsel.
Clark is scheduled for sentencing April 6.
DeMellier said Clark’s phone conversations were monitored, which led to the discovery of the sharpened toothbrush.
“He’s a very manipulative individual. He tells different people in his life different reasons why he did what he did,” she said.
Before he pleaded guilty, Clark was questioned by DeMellier about Devins’ death, Clark’s social media posts and his prior internet searches. Prosecutors were granted access to Clark’s and Devins’ cellphones and were able to access Clark’s photos and internet searches.
Clark told DeMellier that from May to July, he had searched for information related to killing or incapacitating someone. He said he also searched for Devins online and took screenshots of their conversations.
He testified that, after killing Devins with a knife, he posted on social media that he would kill himself and shared photos of her remains.
Clark said he did not want his family – some of whom would have testified on phone calls with him – or the Devins family to go through the trial and witness the video footage he took, which reportedly shows Clark killing Devins.
Both DeMellier and Utica Police Lt. Bryan Coromato said that the graphic footage was the worst they had viewed.
“It was something that was definitely the most disturbing I had ever seen,” Coromato said.
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The photos that were posted to social media still can be found online, DeMellier said.
Frank Williams, Devins’ grandfather, said her mother Kim Devins has been working with U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., to change the laws so that social media companies will have to take down similar content.
Williams said their family is relieved.
“I’m grateful he has chosen to plead guilty,” Williams said. “He said Bianca did not deserve this, she did not deserve this.”
Follow reporter H. Rose Schneider on Twitter @OD_Schneider.