Man Faces Life Sentence for Killing Girlfriend He Met In AA

By McCarton Ackerman 09/24/14

Eric Earle was found guilty of smothering Karla Brada with a pillow after beating her during an argument.

Karla Brada.jpg
Karla Brada. Photo via

A California man was found guilty last week of murdering his girlfriend whom he met at an AA meeting.

Santa Clarita native Eric Earle is now facing life in prison for the August 2011 murder of 31-year-old Karla Brada. She was found at the condo they shared and evidence showed that she was smothered with a pillow after being beaten during an argument.

His defense tried to argue that she was under the influence of drugs and that her death was caused by a lethal amount of methadone in her system. Earle’s attorney, David Arredondo, said the pair both used drugs together, while Earle claimed that her death was a result of falling down the stairs.

The pair met at an AA meeting in early 2011 and began dating shortly after, but their relationship quickly turned violent. Deputy District Attorney Elena Abramson said that Earle was an abusive boyfriend who assaulted Brada on numerous occasions when he was drunk, in addition to isolating her from friends and loved ones.

“Three to four minutes is a long time,” said Abramson, referencing how long he smothered Brada on the night of her death. “Premeditation means you decided to kill before completing the act. When you’re talking three to four minutes of mouth and neck compression, there is plenty of time to think about what you’re doing.”

Although Earle was arrested on the day that his girlfriend was found dead, he was released due to a lack of evidence. He was re-arrested again in January 2012 and held in custody on $1 million bail. A judge ruled in May that enough evidence had been compiled to hold him on trial. For Karla’s family, the guilty verdict was over three years in the making.

“I am so exhausted,” said her mother, Jaroslava Mendez. “I feel relieved. There was constant tension listening to all those lies. I actually walked out of the courtroom Wednesday because I couldn’t listen to any more. We’ve been waiting three years and two weeks for this.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.