Family members of Brandon Hayes showed up to court Wednesday not to support the El Cajon man accused of murder but to see that he stay in custody, without bail.
Listening to their story, the problems this family has faced become very clear. Brandon had had trouble with drugs in the past, had gone through rehab, had moved into a group home but still hadn’t turned his life around, according to family members.
“He always had malice in his heart,” said Carmen Hayes, Brandon’s stepmother. “We had all given up on him and told him not to come around until he was willing to change.”
The only person Brandon could turn to was his grandmother, Eunice Cothron, who lived in Alpine.
She bought him groceries, washed his clothes and gave him everything he needed, family members said. “She was the last person who was trying to help him and believe in him,” said Alan Hayes, Brandon’s father and Cothron's son.
On Saturday, May 16, Cothron’s body was found inside her mobile home, the victim of murder. Deputies said they believe robbery was at least part of the motive.
Five days after the discovery of Cothron’s body, Brandon Hayes and a friend Jeffery Reed were arrested for the crime while trying to re-enter the United States at the San Ysidro border crossing.
Brandon Hayes and Reed pleaded not guilty to felony charges Wednesday. An El Cajon judge ordered them held without bail.
“I was personally hoping for special circumstances,” said Alan Hayes. "I have always believed he really had no conscience.”
An aunt said she's relieved Brandon is in the system now, saying “He blew it. He has so many chances with so many family members. He always wanted to do his own thing. He blew it.”
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 9.