Jamal and Malcolm Frederick were armed when Joseph Bruny shot them to death on New Year’s Eve 2017. Bruny says he acted in self-defense.

WEST PALM BEACH – A man charged with fatally shooting two brothers in Boynton Beach on New Year’s Eve 2017 was found not guilty Tuesday of first-degree murder charges.

Joseph Bruny, 28, claimed he acted in self-defense after he went to the brothers’ home to collect on a drug debt but was instead confronted by the siblings, who were armed.

Bruny killed Jamal Frederick, 21, and Malcolm Frederick, 24, at their grandmother’s home, according to testimony.

Bruny told the jury he went to the home on the 200 block of Northwest Third Avenue, east of Interstate 95 and north of Boynton Beach Boulevard, to collect $700 for marijuana he had “fronted” to one of the brothers.

Upon approaching the brothers, Bruny said he saw a .380-caliber handgun in Jamal Frederick’s possession and took away the firearm.

“He thought he was deescalating the situation,” defense attorney Scott Skier said.

Instead, Bruny said Jamal Frederick turned to his older brother, who had a Mac 11 machine gun strapped to his shoulder with purple shoestrings, and ordered him to shoot Bruny.

Skier said Malcolm Frederick was “beaten to the punch” by Bruny, who began shooting. Malcolm Frederick was struck several times, including a fatal shot in the back, according to testimony.

“This was a justifiable use of force,” Skier said. “Once (Bruny) saw that (machine gun), there was no other way that he could reasonably leave that setting without discharging his firearm.”

Bruny then fired his weapon at Jamal Frederick, who was found by police with a loaded .45-caliber pistol under his body.

Skier and police reports said Bruny had a concealed-weapons permit.

Bruny, who fired 17 shots, called 911 to report the incident and was headed to the Boynton Beach police station when officers intercepted him.

After giving a statement to detectives, Bruny was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder with a firearm and robbery with a firearm. He has been in the Palm Beach County Jail since the day of the murder, but was set to be released Tuesday.

Skier said prosecutors did not provide the 14-person jury with “critical, objective documents” such as DNA evidence and phone records that would have supported Bruny’s contention that he acted in self-defense.

“The investigation did not meet the expectations of the jury because it was woefully insufficient,” he said.


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