- Associated Press - Thursday, February 8, 2018

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A man already convicted in one New Orleans slaying was charged Thursday in three more killings, including the shooting death of a young San Francisco activist who was visiting the city in 2008, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said.

Joseph Brant, 48, was indicted on three counts of first-degree murder in connection with the cases stretching back a decade.

Brant already faced a mandatory life sentence in the 2008 stabbing death of Jessica Hawk, a botanist, in her New Orleans home. He was finishing up an unrelated burglary sentence in a Texas prison when he recently confessed to the three other New Orleans killings, Cannizzaro said in a news release.

Brant now is charged in the 2007 slaying of an unidentified woman and that of another woman, identified as Jody Johnson, in January 2008. Both of the bodies in those cases were set afire.

Authorities said his third victim was 25-year-old Kirsten Brydum, killed while visiting from San Francisco in September 2008. She had been shot to death and robbed of her bicycle and tote bag, according to police. Brydum was an organizer of a monthly San Francisco gathering at which people exchanged goods and services called the Really Really Free Market. She had arrived in New Orleans two days before her body was found.

“This confession and indictment are the first steps toward bringing long-delayed justice to this defendant’s victims and their families,” Cannizzaro said.

The news release said Cannizzaro dispatched an investigator to the prison outside Huntsville, Texas, after Brant told his attorneys he wanted to provide information on other unsolved killings in New Orleans in exchange for an agreement that he would not face the death penalty and that he would serve his sentences in a Louisiana penitentiary.

“The expected guilty pleas and mandatory life sentences that will follow cannot bring back the loved ones, but hopefully can provide some degree of closure for these grieving families,” Cannizzaro said.

Cannizzaro said work has begun to immediately extradite Brant.

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