I will be talking about two women that were involved in this case. One of them survived, and one of them didn’t.
Penny Waldroup met her future husband, Brad Waldroup, when they were teenagers. Penny got pregnant before they got married, and they went on to have 4 kids. The Waldroup and Bradshaw families lived in Meigs County, Tennessee, which is very rural and small.
Leslie Bradshaw was also a mother, and one of Penny’s best friends. Brad was a very abusive and controlling man, so Penny would take her children to Leslie’s home. Penny’s son, Elijah, described her house as their safe haven. Leslie was the only one who wasn’t afraid of Brad, and wasn’t afraid to stand up to him when he’d threaten Penny.
A Broken Marriage
By the summer of 2006, Penny had enough of Brad’s controlling ways. He would apologize each time something happened, as most abusers do. Penny always forgave him, but this time she stood up for herself.
With the help of Leslie, Penny filled out the paperwork, and told Brad she was divorcing him. Brad moved out, and into his grandmother’s house in the Kimsey Mountains. The area was so isolated, and had many dark and twisted roads.
Brad was angry about the divorce. He threatened Penny, and told her he would either kill her or make her life a living hell.
They did agree on co-parenting, so on October 13, 2006, it was Brad’s weekend to have the kids. Penny asked Leslie if she’d go with her, which she agreed to. Another friend of theirs, Dotchi, watched Leslie’s kids. Dotchi was told that they’d be back around 7:30pm. The three women agreed to stay in constant contact every 30 minutes to an hour. Penny told Dotchi to call the police if they weren’t back by 7:30pm.
A Horrible Tragedy
By 7pm, Penny, Leslie, and Penny’s kids arrived at the house on Kimsey Mountain. Brad met them in the yard with a rifle in hand. He was also very intoxicated.
The kids had already gone inside, but Elijah, Penny’s son, told he accidentally looked out the window. He then saw his dad shoot Leslie with the rifle. Brad was also screaming and cussing at the two women. Brad would go on to shoot Leslie 8 times.
Penny tried to wake her friend up to run away with her. Penny ran into the woods, and was shot in the back. Penny was able to get up, but was shot again. Brad fired the rifle until he ran out of bullets. He then walked over to Penny, and drug her to the creek. He then used a machete to cut her while their kids were inside crying and screaming. She lost her pinky finger in the attack.
Dotchi told she knew something was wrong when her friends didn’t reach out to her. She called the police to do a welfare check. Dotchi told she felt as if they didn’t take her seriously. She called the dispatcher every 15 minutes to check on the status of her friends, and was told they’d send someone out as soon as the next officer was available.
A Badass Survivor
Penny was taken into the house, and was told by Brad to say goodbye to the kids. Elijah told he thought that they would all die that day. Penny was bloody, and had cuts all over her body. Elijah told it was straight from a horror movie.
Brad was saying crazy things about how he was there to do the devils work, and was the devil himself. Penny was confused as to why this was happening, but told she fought to save her children.
The children were told to go into their rooms. Brad took Penny into the bedroom, and sexually assaulted her. Penny told she went in and out of consciousness many times, and was running on adrenaline. Brad was laughing about what was happening.
While they were in the bedroom, Penny’s daughter called out that someone was at the front door. Finally, the police had shown up. The officer was relatively new and had arrived without backup. Luckily, Brad seemed to have given up, and other officers started to arrive.
Not Enough Time
The police helped Penny to the ambulance. By this point, she was wrapped in a blanket and had a dazed look in her eyes. Dotchi had been notified that Penny was alive, but Leslie had passed away.
Brad continued to threaten Penny as she was in the ambulance. He also threatened his kids. He was charged with first degree murder and attempted murder.
At his trial, a forensic psychiatrist from Vanderbilt University testified that Brad had the MAO-A or warrior gene, which caused him to be violent. This defense basically said Brad couldn’t help himself.
Brad was found guilty of attempted murder, kidnapping and voluntary manslaughter. He was only sentenced to 32 years, which outraged everyone involved, especially Leslie’s family.
Penny created the Leslie Helping Hands in honor of her friend, to help domestic violence victims.
It is absolute bullshit that Brad was only sentenced to 32 years. Penny said she is afraid for society when and if he’s released. Penny is a complete badass though. She not only survived, but fought for the life of her kids. My heart truly goes out to Leslie’s kids and loved ones. I truly hope the justice and prison systems keep Brad in prison as he is a dangerous to society.