District attorney comments on sentencing of Landrum woman who poisoned boyfriend

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The office of District Attorney Greg Newman announces that Brittany Crockett, of Landrum, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for her role in the death of Jeffrey Scott Brittain in 2015. 

Crockett appeared in court with her attorney, Tony Dalton, of Brevard, and entered her guilty plea last week Thursday in the Polk County Superior Court.  She was sentenced by Judge Tonya Wallace to 15½ years in prison.

The state of North Carolina was represented by District Attorney Greg Newman and Assistant District Attorney Robert Brackett.

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On July 8, 2015, a domestic dispute occurred at the Shady Oak Lane home of Jeffrey Brittain between Ms. Crockett and him. Following the argument, Crockett made Brittain breakfast. 

She admitted to investigators that she obtained a jug from outside the home that she identified as “C-O-2”, which she then mixed with a V8 Splash drink and served in a graduation type mug.  Upon drinking the mixture, Brittain assaulted Crockett and the Sheriff’s department responded and arrested Brittain. 

At the jail, Brittain began vomiting a bright green colored substance. He then told sheriff’s officials that Crockett had poisoned him. Brittain was taken from the jail to St. Luke’s Hospital for treatment. 

He was released from the hospital, and he bonded out of jail pending his case of assault on a female.

Following the events of July 8, 2015, Brittain’s health continued to deteriorate. On July 12, 2015, Polk County EMS was called to Brittain’s home for complaints of a swollen tongue, sore throat and the inability to eat solid food. He was again taken to St. Luke’s Hospital and discharged with a diagnosis of angioedema of the tongue due to heart medication. 

On July 13, 2015, Brittain complained to a friend that he needed help because he struggled to eat and drink. He told another friend, Rodney Thompson, that he believed he was poisoned.

On July 19, 2015, Mr. Thompson took Brittain to the hospital in Rutherford County. Brittain struggled to get out of bed, had difficulty moving and was acting delirious. He was diagnosed with fibrotic lung disease, and he stayed in the hospital until his death on Aug. 5, 2015. 

The medical examiner at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem found the cause of death to be an interstitial lung injury. The autopsy stated that the injuries to Brittain’s lungs, tongue and esophagus were consistent with paraquat poisoning.

Investigators located a bottle matching Ms. Crockett’s description with the word “Paraquat” written underneath a skull and crossbones. This bottle was at a location on Brittain’s property, where Crockett was known to stay for extended periods of time.

The evidence was seized by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and sent to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia, where they confirmed that the liquid in the bottle was the banned pesticide, paraquat.

“This case took a little longer to resolve due to Ms. Crockett’s mental health issues,” Newman said.  “On more than one occasion, Ms. Crockett was found to be incapable of proceeding to court and all we can do is to wait until the state hospital advises that her competency has been restored.  Also, she was examined by at least three psychologists and found by two of them to be legally insane at the time she was living with Brittain. So, her mental capacity was clearly at issue and she has a mental health record from South Carolina as well. 

“The evidence of premeditation and deliberation, which are required for first-degree murder convictions, was questionable and left us with a better case for second-degree murder.”

Crockett must serve at least 12 years before she can be considered for any type of parole in North Carolina.

– Submitted article