Today, I spoke again with Victoria Britton about her frustrating journey to seek justice for her young son, Kyle Brennan. Perhaps it was best explained on a recent radio show when Victoria said: “I felt like I had been sucked up in a pneumatic tube and deposited into this very dark, dark underworld that made little or no sense to me — it’s been a horrific journey, and I don’t have any words…”
Link to podcast of - “Justice for Kyle Brennan”: http://tinyurl.com/aqm9nan
The impression that emerges from the conversations I’ve had with Victoria over the past few weeks is that the chances of obtaining justice in Scientology’s mecca, Clearwater, Florida, would be the same as in a “kangaroo court,” especially when Scientology stands accused.
After reviewing countless court documents and sworn affidavits and speaking to numerous people, many have concluded that Victoria’s journey for justice and for a proper investigation was fraught with discrepancies, lies, and conflicting, fabricated testimony.
On February 16, 2007, 20-year-old Kyle Brennan was found shot through the head under circumstances so suspicious that the possibility he was murdered, shocking as it is, cannot be excluded.
There are indications that evidence was tampered with, that the medical examiner improperly declared his death a suicide, and that the two-year police investigation was carried out so as to suppress Scientology’s role in Kyle’s death.
In early January 2006, when Kyle was nineteen, he started seeing psychiatrist Dr. Stephen McNamara, who diagnosed him with mild depression and prescribed the anti-depressant Lexapro.
With therapy and his medication, Kyle was apparently doing very well, until his Scientologist father discovered in mid-summer of 2006 that Kyle was seeing a psychiatrist.
Kyle’s father, Tom Brennan, a practicing Scientologist, adheres to the Hubbard policy “of all-out war on psychiatry” that blames psychiatrists for the catastrophic ruination of the human race. Scientology leader David Miscavige has set “the elimination of psychiatry it all its forms” as an objective for all Scientologists.
In August 2006, Kyle went to live with his father, Tom Brennan, in an apartment in Florida. Tom was a handyman for David Miscavige’s twin sister, Denise Miscavige, and he was also involved with Scientology and taking Scientology courses.
Tom Brennan knew his son had seen a psychiatrist who prescribed medication for a mental illness. Kyle’s mom told Tom: “Make sure Kyle takes his medication,” and Tom agreed to do so. In effect, he was taking on the responsibility of helping his son continue to take the prescribed medication.
One of the major tenets of Scientology is total opposition to psychiatric treatment and medications. As a practicing Scientologist, Tom Brennan could not maintain a relationship with his son who was undergoing psychiatric treatment or consuming psychotropic drugs. He had no choice but to report the matter to his superiors, to his confidant, Denise Miscavige, and to an Ethics Officer.
Tom also knew that Kyle was talking to the FBI and, when he confronted Kyle and demanded to know what he was doing, Kyle refused to tell him. Kyle apparently had dirt on his dad and Scientology, and he had contacted the FBI and other police authorities on several occasions.
Not only is Scientology the fiercest enemy of psychiatry and its medications, but it also dives into panic mode when someone is reporting Scientology or an individual Scientologist to the FBI.
In Scientology policy doctrine, Kyle was an “enemy” of Scientology and this needed to be handled expeditiously.
Even though Kyle was not a Scientologist, the Ethics Officer gave Tom Brennan written orders to remove his son from the apartment and “handle” the situation with his son according to Scientology “policy.”
In compliance with the commands from the Scientology Ethics Officer, Tom Brennan locked Kyle’s prescription Lexapro in the trunk of his car and told Kyle he had to leave.
Although there is disagreement over whether Kyle’s dad “took” the pill bottle and hid it in his car trunk or whether Kyle willingly handed it to him for storage, the facts that emerged from police officer Yuen’s sworn deposition are that: "Thomas encouraged Kyle to stop taking the medications and ‘took the prescription bottle from him’ approximately three days" before his son's death.
Tom called Victoria on Thursday, February 15, 2007 and stated that “the church was placing a lot of pressure on him and that Kyle had to move out.” At the end of the conversation, Tom said “not to worry, that he would take care of everything.” Victoria’s last words in that conversation were: “Tom, tell Kyle that I love him and please keep Kyle safe.”
In the Clearwater Police report, Brennan told detective Yuen that Kyle’s bed was stripped of all linens and that Kyle’s bags were packed because Kyle was going home to Virginia on Monday. The perplexing question is why was the bed stripped and the bags packed days before Kyle was going to move out?
Victoria’s phone rang on February 17, 2007, at 1:18 a.m. The voice on the other end said: “Is this Victoria? I’m calling to tell you that your son Kyle is dead.”
Victoria dropped the phone and screamed: “No! No! No!”
Kyle was found dead beside a laundry basket, with Tom Brennan’s 357 Magnum beside his hand. Tom had stored his gun in a nightstand beside his own bed and the bullets in the nightstand on the opposite side. Tom has insisted that he always kept the gun in a green, zipped-up duffle-type bag, but it is notable that this information was discarded by detectives as irrelevant. There was no green duffle bag at the scene.
Neither the bullet that caused the exit wound nor any fragments of it were ever found. None of the GSR (gunshot residue) swabs taken from Kyle in evidence were ever processed. The gun’s owner and first person on the scene, Tom Brennan, was not subjected to any GSR swabbing for potential evidence of wrongdoing.
Moreover, there was no suicide note.
The fact that Kyle had a laptop and iPod in the apartment was not known to police investigators until days later. If Kyle’s death was a suicide, one would have expected the investigators to search for a personal laptop or a device such as an iPod for any message or suicide note, since no paper note was found.
Shortly after Kyle’s death, Kyle’s laptop was removed from the scene and ended up in the hands of Jerry Gentile, David Miscavige’s brother-in-law. Files that could have served as evidence were deleted. Also concealed from detective Stephen Bohling was the existence of Kyle Brennan’s iPod, which was eventually sent to Kyle’s mom.
The fact that the laptop, iPod, green gun bag, and bullet or fragments were not found suggests that little or no searching was conducted in the apartment — contrary to what should be the normal procedure in most cases.
A few days before he died, Kyle went to the bank and made a deposit, indicating to many that this was not the mindset of someone contemplating suicide.
Some have even questioned whether this was a case of premeditated murder or a deliberate attempt to drive Kyle ‘over the edge’ by taking away his medication. The plot thickens with many twists and turns and many more unanswered questions.
Perhaps the words of Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, ring louder than many think: “We'd rather have you dead than incapable” and “dispose of them quietly and without sorrow.”
The Clearwater police investigation into the tragic and suspicious death of 20-year-old Kyle Brennan resulted in missing evidence and raises the question: did the police detectives perform normal due diligence in securing the crime scene and the witnesses, or were they influenced by the fact that Denise Miscavige, the twin sister of Scientology’s leader, was at the scene?
In his review of the “available evidence,” Judge Steven D. Merryday stated that the plaintiffs had nothing to counter Thomas Brennan's account of events, and he dismissed the case summarily without allowing it to be heard by a jury.
Victoria Britton was denied her day in court for justice to be served.
I’ve discussed this complex case with many persons, including fathers, and it is difficult to fathom leaving a powerful handgun in a nightstand in the room next to where his young son sleeps. And if a father is aware, as Kyle’s father was, that his beloved son has been prescribed medication to alleviate depression, this is all the more reason NOT to have a handgun and ammunition in the home.
In the investigation of a suicide or a murder, motives are paramount to determine which directions to follow. Simply believing or assuming this or that based on opinion and conjecture can lead to inference and drawing conclusions not based on factual evidence. There do exist facts that should be taken into account when considering motives in this case.
It is hard to imagine a so-called church taking the law into its own hands or orchestrating a suicide or even a murder, but Scientology has a long history of criminal activity and convictions. Its negligent disregard for all who oppose it is evident in many deaths and extreme human rights abuses.
During this investigation, Victoria Britton faced several of L, Ron Hubbard’s policies: "If attacked on some vulnerable point by anyone or anything or any organization, always find or manufacture enough threat against them to cause them to sue for peace."
"In any event, any person from 2.0 down on the Tone Scale should not have, in any thinking society, any civil rights of any kind, because by abusing those rights he brings into being arduous and strenuous laws which are oppressive to those who need no such restraints."
And another infamous Hubbard quotation states: “THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN CONTROL PEOPLE IS TO LIE TO THEM.”
During our talk earlier today, Victoria was candid about her feelings: “It’s horrible because I feel like I’ve been fighting for so long for the truth and to get some accountability, and there are moments where I feel I have failed. It’s really frustrating, and there are times when I feel really alone.”
Victoria prays that this case will be reopened and that a jury will hear all the “available evidence” in a court of law. A jury trial is essentially an effort to determine the truth, and it is a system that Americans have come to prize so highly. Did a person actually do what the state says he or she has done?
“The question has been asked whether [trial by jury] is among those fundamental principles of liberty and justice which lie at the base of all our civil and political institutions. . . . We believe that trial by jury is fundamental to the American scheme of justice. . . . The jury trial provisions in the Federal and State Constitutions reflect a fundamental decision about the exercise of official power — a reluctance to entrust plenary powers over the life and liberty of the citizen to one judge or to a group of judges.”
- Justice Byron White, in Duncan v. Louisiana (1967)
Kyle Brennan was a young man with a long life ahead of him, and many questions remain about his death and who may be responsible.
David Edgar Love