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Oklahoma Man On Kentucky Death Row For 1991 Murder Of Bardstown Man Pleads Guilty On Kidnapping Charge

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FRANKFORT, KY. (LEX 18) – Attorney General Andy Beshear today announced a guilty plea of an Oklahoma man charged with the kidnapping and murder of Francis Brady, of Bardstown, in 1991.

Under terms of a plea agreement with Beshear’s Office of Special Prosecutions, Michael Dale St. Clair, 60, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and was sentenced by Special Judge John David Seay in Hardin Circuit Court on April 12 to 30 years in prison. 

St. Clair has been convicted several times since 1998 for both the murder and kidnapping of Brady. Both cases have been reversed on appeal several times.

St. Clair’s most recent sentence of death for the murder of Brady was affirmed by the Kentucky Supreme Court in 2015. He is currently on death row at the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville. 

St. Clair’s kidnapping conviction was reversed in 2015, and was scheduled for a retrial May 8 in Hardin Circuit Court. St. Clair, however, took the plea deal April 12 on the kidnapping charge.

“This is a case the Attorney General’s Office has been working on for several years to bring justice for the victim and his family for all actions by St. Clair,” Beshear said. “While the court process has been lengthy, I want to thank the prosecutors in my office for their steadfast commitment to hold St. Clair accountable for his horrendous acts.” 

In September 1991, St. Clair escaped from jail in Durant, Oklahoma while awaiting sentencing for several murders in Oklahoma. After escaping jail in Durant, St. Clair and another inmate drove a stolen truck to Texas where they took a bus to Denver.

In Denver the pair kidnapped a man and forced him to drive them back to Texas. The pair shot and killed the kidnapped man while in New Mexico on their way to back to Texas. (St. Clair was convicted of second-degree murder in New Mexico in 2014.)

The pair eventually arrived in Kentucky, and on Oct. 6, 1991, kidnapped a Bardstown man, Brady, in his truck at a rest stop off I-65 near Sonora in Hardin County. The pair drove to an isolated area near Lebanon Junction in Bullitt County, and shot and killed Brady.

As part of the April 12 plea agreement, St. Clair was sentenced to 20 years for the attempted murder of Kentucky State Trooper Herbert “Butch” Bennett, who St. Clair shot at after the KSP trooper stopped him and his partner in Brady’s stolen truck Oct. 7, 1991.

St. Clair also pleaded guilty in his April 12 plea agreement to two counts of receiving stolen property for the two pickup trucks – the stolen truck in Denver and Brady’s truck. Additionally St. Clair pleaded guilty to facilitation to arson 2nd degree for the burning of the stolen truck from Denver. He received a five-year sentence for each of those crimes.

Brady’s widow, Merle Brady, has been present for every previous trial. Merle Brady was unable to attend St. Clair’s guilty plea April 12, but she was consulted numerous times by prosecutors and Beshear’s Office of Victims Advocacy prior to the signing of the plea agreement.

Following the April 12 plea agreement on the kidnapping charge, St. Clair was returned to death row in Eddyville. 

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