A Bainbridge man who was convicted earlier this month of killing his former boss was sentenced Monday to more than 31 years in prison.
Brian Andrew Glaser, 31, was given a prison term of 380 months — to be followed by 36 months of community custody — for the first-degree murder of Donald “Donnie” Duckworth in Kitsap County Superior Court.
Duckworth’s family and friends packed the courtroom during Monday’s sentencing.
“He was kind. He was loyal. He was honorable,” said Derick Duckworth, one of the victim’s two sons.
Derick Duckworth presented a poster board filled with family photos. Here was Donald Duckworth with his kids on Halloween; another of Derick playing in the mud at one of his father’s worksites. Another photo showed father and sons next to dad’s 1955 Chevy, right before son Ryan’s wedding; one showed 1-year-old Derick with a stringer full of fish during one of their many outings. Another photo was a picture of baby Derick in a big crib, with his smiling father laying next to him. Another showed Derick with his science fair project when he was a second-grader; the topic was well-drilling and his father and told him all about the science of finding water.
Superior Court Judge Kevin Hull paused several long moments as he looked over the photos.
Duckworth’s family said the trial itself had taken a toll.
Some of the evidence gathered by police was excluded from the trial, notably a report that examined bullets that had been fired from the Glock 17 handgun used in the killing.
Just three of 12 bullets had originally been tested due to time constraints — Glaser had asked for a “speedy trial” — but the Washington State Patrol crime lab said it could not conclusively determine those three rounds had been fired by Glaser’s Glock 17.
Nine other bullets were tested later, in April, and were found to have come from the Glock, but the judge ruled the defendant did not have time to hire his own expert to review the crime lab report, and said the new evidence had been introduced “on the eve of the trial” and could not be shared with the jury.
“One thing he really believed in was truth and justice,” Derick Duckworth told the judge, and recalled that some of the evidence prosecutors had hoped to use in the case was withheld from jurors.
“It was difficult to think, ‘Is truth not going to come out?’ But truth prevailed,” he said.
A shattered family
Madison Duckworth told the judge her father-in-law would never get to hold his granddaughter.
Donald Duckworth had gotten sick just after her birth, and was waiting to get well first.
“Don never got to hold her. He was sick when she was born and now she has to grow up without him,” she said. “He will never make her laugh, he never tell her stories and will never take her fishing.”
His death has left the family devastated, she said.
“My mother-in-law had her entire life destroyed. Her best friend and partner is gone. All their hopes and dreams are gone,” she said. “Our entire family has been gutted, every holiday birthday, event has a dark cloud, a missing piece.”
Their grief continued during the trial, she added.
“Having to sit in this courtroom and have people defend his actions has been one of the most disgusting things I have ever endured in my life. Brian has shown no remorse for his actions. He even dared to giggle during closing statements. He is not sorry for what he has done,” Madison Duckworth said.
“We do not offer him forgiveness,” she added, and she asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence.
Glaser was expressionless and showed no remorse during his court appearance Monday, and repeatedly glared at members of Duckworth’s family.
Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 320 months for the first-degree murder conviction, plus another 60 months because a firearm was used in the killing.
“The defendant in this case planned and carried out what can be described as an execution,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Barbara O. Dennis said in the state’s sentencing memorandum.
Dennis recalled that Glaser had used a silencer on his Glock handgun, which prosecutor’s called a “ghost gun” because it was made from an 80 percent polymer kit that made it untraceable.
Duckworth was working on a property not visible from the road while he was drilling the well, and prosecutors said Glaser must have followed him to his worksite or lay in wait for him.
The evidence also showed, prosecutors said, that Duckworth was shot 17 times.
There were three fatal shots; two of them in the heart.
“Mr. Duckworth fell down to the ground after the first few shots, which means Brian Glaser stood over him, continuing to fire bullet after bullet into Mr. Duckworth’s already bullet-ridden body,” Dennis wrote in the sentencing memo.
There were so many bullet holes, Dennis added, that the first officers who got to the scene thought the victim had been shot with a shotgun.
Prosecutors also pointed to Glaser’s demeanor during the trial, and recalled how he sneered at the victim’s family and continued to look at them even after he was told not to.
When the verdict was read, he showed no emotion except anger, Dennis said, and phone calls Glaser made from jail also showed a lack of remorse. “Instead, he thought it was a big joke and told his mother, ‘We will be laughing about this in no time,’” Dennis said in her memo.
Duckworth’s friends and family told the judge how the murder had left many feeling they had post-traumatic stress disorder, how their lives had been destroyed and how they would never heal from the tragedy.
Afterward, Judge Hull asked Glaser if he wished to make a statement.
“No thanks,” Glaser said.
Hull said the devastation left by the murder created much more than a ripple effect.
“This is a tsunami,” Hull said.
The killing was calculated, premeditated and cold-blooded, he added.
Glaser sat expressionless with his head tilted slightly back as the judge announced he was giving the maximum allowable sentence.
Tom Weaver, Glaser’s attorney, told the judge and prosecutors that he would be filing an appeal.
A senseless murder
Glaser killed Duckworth, 66, on a Bainbridge property where Duckworth had been hired to help drill a well in August 2018. Glaser was a former employee of Duckworth until the pair had a falling out over a supposed injury Glaser claimed he gotten on the job from falling off a truck, and eventually the Bainbridge man stopped showing up for work.
Police said Glaser gunned down Duckworth at a property near High School Road where he had been hired to drill a well.
Duckworth’s family immediately named Glaser as a suspect, and witnesses placed Glaser’s truck at the murder scene.
Detectives soon matched the fingerprints found on a welding truck at the murder scene to a set of Glaser’s fingerprints that were on file at the Bainbridge police department after he had earlier applied for a concealed pistol license.
After a four-hour-plus down-the-rabbit-hole interview with detectives — bizarre talk of traveling to the East Coast and visiting the home of the president’s chief of staff to try to meet him, encounters with CIA agents and CIA coverups, and knowing things the CIA wanted him to keep secret, because he was not a “little fish” but a “super-big fish,” and the belief that his boss poisoned his dog — an evasive Glaser eventually admitted to killing Duckworth. He would also take officers to the firearm and the shell casings used in the shooting.
Following a pizza dinner, Glaser went with officers inside his parents’ home and pointed to a backpack that had a loaded weapon in it.
Outside, he asked officers if they wanted to play the “hot/cold” game. When they said no, Glaser pointed to a mound of dirt beneath some nearby trees, where police found shell casings from the murder weapon that had been wrapped in a handkerchief and buried.
Jurors deliberated less than two days before returning with a guilty verdict.
During Monday’s sentencing, Duckworth’s friends and family members asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence.
Robert Wenziaff, who last saw Duckworth at the drilling site and left after Glaser arrived, said in a statement that he wondered what would had happened if he had stayed at the job site, but left because he had “a real bad premonition.”
“If I had not listened to that inner voice that day and left when I did, I certainly would have been shot too,” he wrote. “I have frequent nightmares about Don’s murder and often wonder if I could have made a difference if I had stayed on the job site as Don had asked.”
Ronald Duckworth, the victim’s brother and business partner, said his brother could have retired in October 2018 but decided to finish the jobs he had already committed to once he got help, by hiring Glaser.
“The loss of my brother brings unbearable sorrow,” Ronald Duckworth wrote in his victim’s impact statement. “I think of him constantly. I fall asleep and have bad dreams. I have waking thoughts of him running for his life while being shot at. I remember my daughter waking me in the middle of the night saying, ‘Dad, somebody murdered Uncle Donnie.’ I think of Sheila losing her life mate and crying herself to sleep and Donnie’s sons losing their father.”
Sally Jo Duckworth, Ronald’s wife, recalled the family’s pain as they had to go back to the job site to finish the well, “knowing the terror, pain and death that had been perpetrated there, and see the footprints in the muddy drilling cuttings from the well where Donnie ran to get away as Brian repeatedly shot him.”
She recalled how the family had been kind to Glaser, and said the murder was senseless. Like others, she feared for her family’s safety.
“I feel strongly that if not incarcerated he would kill again,” she said of Glaser. “Twenty-five to 30 years of being in prison will only give him time to stew and hate and be delusional. I fear his ever being released to act out on his delusions again.”
Dan Wymer, the pastor of Bainbridge First Baptist Church, recalled growing up with the victim and going to school together.
He also told the judge that he thought Glaser would “stew” in prison and leave prison with a plan of revenge.
Wymer said he was prepared to lead a letter-writing campaign to any parole board to keep Glaser in prison should he come up for parole.
“Don’s children and younger relatives will remember what has happened for longer than Mr. Glaser will be incarcerated,” Wymer said.
Facing the family
Next to the jurors’ box, an easel held a large poster-sized photo of Donald “Donnie” Duckworth, wearing a big smile, a fishing pole in his hands.
Before announced the sentence, the judge acknowledged that some of his decisions favored the accused.
“In this case there were detours along the way,” Hull said, adding that his rulings were legally sound and he was bound by law and the defendant’s constitutional rights.
Still, Hull said he could find no mitigating factors that would lead him to impose a sentence less than the maximum.
Glaser, his wrists handcuffed to a padlocked chain around his waist, was then led from the courtroom. He stared at Duckworth’s family and friends for a long moment as he walked past, but few turned their heads to watch him leave.
“I’m relieved that he did get the maximum,” Derick Duckworth said afterward.
Duckworth said he had spoken with Gov. Jay Inslee about extending the maximum sentence for first-degree murder, and was working on a follow-up letter.
“I feel like there needs to be amendments to Washington state’s legal sentencing guidelines,” Derick Duckworth said.
“I want to get this changed; there needs to be a change,” he said. “Murder, first degree, should be a life in prison sentence. Not a slap on the wrist, and 26 years max for a Level 0 offender.”