Grandma gets prison for killing 400 lb. roommate

prison sentenceSAN DIEGO — An 82-year-old woman who shot her 57-year-old schizophrenic roommate to death in their Bay Park trailer park home after he made disparaging remarks about her granddaughter was sentenced Friday.

Barbara Ruth Brand pleaded guilty in December to voluntary manslaughter in the death of Paul Slysh. She was sentenced to 10 years in state prison.

Brand shot the victim three times in a fit of anger last July 12 after confronting Slysh about an email he had sent to her granddaughter, Shauni Whittaker. The victim was initially expected to survive, but died two days later.

The defendant told police that she told the victim “serves you right” after she shot him.

Brand said she got a .38-caliber handgun after she bumped into Slysh and fell to the ground.

She said she “had to do it” and told police, “I hope he’s dead because he’s such an asshole,” according to a probation report, which described Slysh as weighing 400 pounds.

Authorities said the defendant and the victim had known each other since 1984, when she hired him for her real estate company.

In 1999, Brand moved in with the victim to care for him after he was injured in a car accident.

The two had an “on-and-off” relationship over the last few years, authorities said. Several neighbors described it as a mother-son relationship, with Brand acting as the victim’s caregiver.

“They were together for better or worse,” said prosecutor Amy Maund.

Slysh’s father said his son would have lived a long life if not for the defendant.

“Barbara Brand made sure that didn’t happen,” said Paul Slysh Sr., who noted his son had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

Judge David Danielsen noted that family members had opposing views on the relationship, some calling Slysh “intimidating” and “scary” and some saying Brand was a “predator” out for the victim’s money.

“She couldn’t leave him so she shot him,” the judge said. “This is a case that leaves anybody who wants to live a decent life scratching their heads.”

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