18 April 1985 – James ‘JB’ Briley

We’re on a roll. This is our third mass murderer in six days. James ‘JB’ Briley along with brothers Linwood and Anthony terrorised their US neighbourhood of Richmond is a spate of indiscriminate killings that spanned seven months.

There were signs that brother Linwood was a nutter in early life. Even his dad was so worried about his sons that he’d lock his own bedroom door of an evening. But the real clue came when Linwood was 16. He surreptitiously took a well-aimed shot at an elderly neighbour as she happened to walk past her window.


At first her murder went by undetected until the family noticed a tiny bloody mark on her back. A second examination revealed the bullet and Linwood passed off her murder with a shrug, saying that she was due to pop her clogs pretty sharpish anyway, what with her heart condition.

That murder earned him a paltry year in reform school and sadly there was no reformation to be had. Just eight years later, he would team up with his brothers plus a mate, Duncan Meekin, and take the state of Virginia by the short and curlies.

Ironically their first victims were also their only survivors. It all started innocently enough with Linwood standing on the Buchers’ doorstep claiming he had broken down.

Had he heck! No, he blagged his way safely into the confines of their home before getting his brothers inside. They then tied the couple up, ransacked the house leaving a trail of petrol in their wake. Their parting shot was a lit match, but the couple luckily managed to wrestle themselves free of their ties and escape with their lives as their livelihoods went up in flames.

Head case

The consequent victims were not so lucky. One man was shot and his house stripped of valuables, while a 76-year-old woman was their next victim. Rape, robbery, shooting – nothing was beyond the remorseless gang. So imagine the irony when they found a young lad sniffing around their motor looking like he was on the rob. They dragged him off, pinned him to the floor, then smashed his skull by dropping a huge weight on his head.

Such was their callousness, they even targeted another so-called mate. Harvey Wilkerson was on parole and keen to keep his nose clean. Knowing the boys were trouble he made the mistake of locking his front door as they were passing. Of course this caught their attention and that was that – Wilkerson’s fate was sealed.

They targeted the man’s house asking to come in. Scared of what they do, he let them in. Thing is his 5-year-old child and pregnant wife were also inside. They bound the couple up then JB and Meekins took it in turns to rape Wilkerson’s pregnant partner, before they shot the young family dead.

Fair cop

But this time their luck had run out. The police were nearby and saw them making a run for it. So it was only a matter of time before the murders were unearthed and the boys apprehended.

It’s times like that that you find out who your friends are. Meekins saw a chink of a reprieve and he grabbed it with both hands, quite happy to sell his fellow criminals down the river in return for his own life. And it worked. He got a lesser sentence, as did Anthony who only landed a life sentence. But JB and Linwood, copped the lot. Well actually not all of it. As they had only done three people in, Linwood got one death sentence and JB got two and they were hauled off the death row.

Nevertheless that didn’t stop them breaking free when they were on death row. Hell bent on killing their hostage prison officers, then got as far as soaking them in petrol, before fellow escapees stepped in and saved the officers’ lives. But the FBI soon caught up with the dodgy duo and they were slammed back in jail to live out the remainder of their days in Virginia State Penitentiary.

They were summarily placed on Old Sparky – 30-year-old Linwood warmed the seat first on 12 October 1984 and younger brother JB, roughly 28, fried on this day in 1985.

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3 Responses to “18 April 1985 – James ‘JB’ Briley”

  1. Van Schmautz Says:

    Claude Levasseur 49 ans de Montréal (quartier St-Léonard,25ème-Avenue coin D’Hérelle) est l’auteur de l’enlèvement de Cédrika Provencher à Trois-Rivière le 31 Janvier 2007.
    Il était accompagné de son compagnon d’infortûne Sylvain Viger de Montréal(St-Léonard,23ème-Avenue près de Jarry-Est) polytoxicomane utilisateur de cocaïne les deux en voiture la nuit.

    Levasseur a déjà fait de la taule & il est impuslif soupe-au-lait.
    Viger est un schizo-paranoïde avec délires & psycho.

    • Van Schmautz – dont le vrai nom est Martin Demers de St-Nicéphore – est un malade mental qui fait de la projection. Il a reçu un sérieux avertissement de la part d’un policier du SPVM et en cas de récidive, la SQ ira chez lui saisir son ordi et procédera à son arrestation. Le juge pourrait demander une évaluation psychiatrique.

  2. D.James Says:

    They all should have been put down like the scum of the earth they were. When society runs across jerks likes them there should be justice that fit there crime.

    Ms D.

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