40-year-old murder case solved

It has been 40 years since a Maryland man murdered a mother of four. The family finally has justice.

After entering an Alford plea in July to a second-degree murder charge in 1982 over the killing of 28-year-old Laney Lee McGadney, Howard Jackson Bradberry Jr., 64, was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison by Howard County Circuit Court Judge Richard Bernhardt.

Alford pleas allow defendants to maintain their innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors have sufficient evidence to convict.

Witnesses saw McGadney being abducted as she walked to the grocery store in Columbia, Maryland. Her body was discovered hours later in a vacant lot.

McGadney was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death, investigators say.

Despite collecting evidence from the scene, police were unable to identify a suspect, and the case went cold for decades.

Based on DNA from items discarded at the scene, Howard County Police Department investigators were able to link Bradberry to the scene in 2021.

“Laney Lee McGadney’s brutal murder fractured her family beyond repair, and for 40 years there have been few leads in the case with no one being held accountable,” State’s Attorney Rich Gibson said.

“My sincere thanks go out to Howard County police and our prosecutors for their tireless efforts in this case. Today’s sentencing cannot bring back the matriarch of this family, but we hope it brings closure to her four children, 22 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, knowing Bradberry will spend the rest of his life in prison for the heinous crime he committed and the innocent life he took.”