Man convicted in 1988 'Ecclesia' death shot to death

PORTLAND, Ore. - Brian James Brinson, convicted on manslaughter charges in Clackamas County in 1989, was murdered Monday in Texas, authorities say.

Brinson was one of four people charged in the death of Dayna Broussard. Dayna was the 8-year-old daughter of the leader of a controversial cult-like group, Ecclesia, in Clackamas County. During the three-month trial, jurors heard testimony on repeated beatings and child abuse at the Ecclesia Athletic Association compound near Sandy, Ore.

Early Monday morning, 21 years later in the Texas town of Lubbock, a white male was found dead in a 1995 Mercedes parked on the street in a residential neighborhood. Lubbock police say it was Brian James Brinson, shot in the torso.

Brinson was 52 years old.

The Lubbick Police Department has been investigating this shooting as a homicide, and on Monday took two teens into custody. Police say one is 18-year-old Devante Lamar Jones and the other is a 16-year-old boy. The Associated Press reports the teens have been charged in the murder of Brinson.

Though Brinson was sentenced to 20 years in prison, he was discharged early. In 2002, he saw court again twice: first in Multnomah County for a traffic violation and, two months later, back in Clackamas County court for two charges of second-degree sexual abuse and one charge of sexual abuse in the first degree.

The Associated Press reports those allegations came as a result of Brinson's interactions with a 14-year-old boy. At the time he was living at an apartment complex off of Portland's Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard.

Brinson was found "not guilty" on all but one count of second-degree sexual abuse, and was ordered to pay a $865 fine.

Background on Ecclesia
On May 12, 1989, a Clackamas County jury convicted then-31-year-old Brinson, 35-year-old Willie K. Chambers, 38-year-old Constance Jackson and 28-year-old Frederick Doolittle of first-degree manslaughter. All four were members of the Ecclesia Athletic Association, and all four were sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The Ecclesia Athletic Association was founded in 1982 by Eldridge Broussard. The Oregon State Sheriffs' Association reports Broussard "graduated from Pacific University in Forest Grove and had a brief but unsuccessful tryout with the Portland Trail Blazers professional basketball team."

According to a Sheriff's Association-drafted history, in April 1987 Broussard and his Ecclesia Athletic Association brought 70 to 100 men, women and children to a Sandy-area farm in an attempt to establish an athletic training camp. They say Broussard's original goal was to shape group members through intense training and strict discipline so they could resist the temptations of crime and drugs and compete in the Olympic Games.

That all came tumbling down in 1988. Around midnight Oct. 13, 1988, 8-year-old Dayna was taken by adults at the commune to Rural Fire District 71. (Fire District 71 became Clackamas Fire District No. 1 in 1990, according to Clackamas Fire.) Paramedics were unable to revive her.

Clackamas County authorities say they later learned she was beaten hundreds of times with a hose, a pipe and an electrical cord while other children watched.

"Eldridge Broussard was not at the Ecclesia' s Sandy farmhouse where the beating occurred on the night of Oct. 13," the association reports. "However, the strict discipline that he preached as part of the Ecclesia credo frequently resulted in child beatings."

Authorities say they found 53 children, some with scars on their backs, at the farmhouse. "About half of the children were returned to their parents in Oregon. Several others [lived] with relatives in Florida and California, and some remain[ed] in foster care in CSD custody in Oregon," the association reports.

Eldridge Broussard was later arrested, along with three of his followers, "on charges of holding Ecclesia children in slavery and conspiring to deny them their civil rights. Broussard and two others - Carolyn Van Brunt and Josie Ruth Faust - were released Feb. 11, pending trial in federal court."

However, Eldridge never made it to trial. He died of complications related to diabetes in 1991 - "in the same Sandy farmhouse where his daughter had been beaten to death three years earlier," the association reports.

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