Home2024 CampaignConvicted murderer Michael Bruyette runs for Palm Bay City Council

Convicted murderer Michael Bruyette runs for Palm Bay City Council

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UPDATE: 5/11/24 3:30pm – We conducted a live interview on camera with Mr. Bruyette where he confirmed to us that he is registered to vote in Florida as a registered Republican. We asked him if he knew it was illegal to register to vote as a felon with his conviction, and he stated that he was told he’s just not “allowed to vote.”

Palm Bay, FL – Michael Bruyette 58, whose criminal past and subsequent parole hearings have sparked controversy, has officially entered the race for a seat on the Palm Bay City Council. His candidacy is drawing attention but not in a positive way.

Michael Bruyette’s criminal history dates back to 1985 when he was implicated in the murder of Thomas Grimshaw in Chicopee, Massachusetts. According to court documents, Bruyette, then 19, was one of three men solicited by Lisa Grimshaw, the victim’s estranged wife, to commit the murder. Lisa Grimshaw, alleging abuse at the hands of her husband, promised to share a $300,000 life insurance payout with Bruyette and the others if they assisted her in killing her husband.

The plot was executed on the night of June 5, 1985. After confirming their plans at Lisa Grimshaw’s apartment, Bruyette, equipped with baseball bats stolen from the victim’s garage, waited with an associate at a predetermined boat launch. The victim was lured to the location under the guise of a sexual encounter, where Bruyette brutally attacked him, striking him repeatedly in the head and face with a bat, and then fled the scene, leaving Grimshaw’s body by the riverbank.

Bruyette’s initial incarceration began after his conviction for second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, leading to a life sentence with the possibility of parole, plus an additional consecutive 7 to 10-year sentence for the conspiracy.

His parole journey has been equally tumultuous. Initially denied parole in 2002, Bruyette was granted parole in 2007, only to have it revoked in 2011 following an arrest on charges of domestic assault and battery against a live-in girlfriend in Palm Bay. Despite being acquitted of these charges, the parole board found his conduct, including threats and violation of a liquor abstinence condition, sufficient to revoke his parole.

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Bruyette reappeared before the parole board in 2012 and 2014, with parole denied each time, citing ongoing concerns about his anger management and minimization of his role in prior offenses. However, in a 2016 hearing, after expressing remorse and having participated in rehabilitation programs such as Emotional Awareness and Restorative Justice, Bruyette was granted parole.

Bruyette-Michael

The decision was controversial, taking into account his institutional behavior and participation in treatment programs, alongside a comprehensive parole plan involving community support and prospective employment opportunities. His release was subject to stringent conditions, including close supervision and adherence to a curfew.

Bruyette’s candidacy for Palm Bay City Council presents more questions than answers. His entry into the political arena tests the waters of public forgiveness and the belief in second chances against the backdrop of a serious criminal history. He may have been inspired to run by the actions of Palm Bay Mayor Rob Medina who honored another convicted murder with a flag flown over the city during a 4th of July celebration.

However, there is a question of if he’s even legally allowed to run for office. In Florida, the ability to run for public office is closely tied to voting rights. Generally, individuals who are not eligible to vote due to a felony conviction are also ineligible to hold public office. The Florida Constitution stipulates that a person must have their civil rights restored to be eligible for candidacy. This includes the right to vote.

Since Michael Bruyette was convicted of murder, under Florida law, his voting rights would not be automatically restored under Amendment 4. He would need to seek a specific restoration of civil rights, including the right to vote, through the state’s clemency process to become eligible to run for public office. This process can be lengthy and requires approval from the Board of Executive Clemency.

Therefore, if Bruyette has not had his civil rights restored, including his voting rights, he would not legally be eligible to run for or hold a seat on the Palm Bay City Council according to Florida’s legal requirements.

We reached out to him for comment but have not received a response.

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