Brenda Andrew is popularly known to have turned from a Sunday school teacher to a cold-hearted killer. She is currently on death row in Oklahoma for conspiring the murder of her husband, Robert Andrew.
1. Brenda Andrew’s Childhood
Born on 16 December 1963, Brenda Evers grew up in an orthodox Christian family. Evers were the kind of people who lived a relatively quiet life and loved to host family dinners. They also conducted prayer groups. Brenda, as a child, would get into unnecessary troubles. She was an above-average kid at school. Her childhood friends described her as a reserved girl who used to spend most of her time helping others. She regularly attended church choirs, football games and even, practiced baton twirling. However, unlike her other friends, she never attended any after parties and used to go straight back home. (See 8 Reasons Why Children Join Gangs)
2. When Brenda met Robert
Brenda first met Robert Andrew as her friend’s elder brother. At that time, Robert was studying at Oklahoma State University while Brenda was just a high school senior. Eventually, Brenda and Robert started seeing each other more and more & ended up dating each other exclusively.
After finishing her schooling, Brenda shifted to Kansas to study at a college in Winfield. A year later, she moved to Stillwater to continue her studies at OSU. She did this so that she could be closer to Robert. Then, Brenda and Robert got married in June 1984 and continued to live in Oklahoma until Robert was offered a job in Texas. They relocated to Texas where they lived for a few years.
After a few years, Robert began to miss his life in Oklahoma and suggested they move back home. However, Brenda was not ready to do so because she found her life to be more comfortable in Texas. Their relationship began to get unsteady when Robert accepted an advertising job back in Oklahoma. After shifting to Oklahoma, Brenda and Robert stayed apart for a few months before Brenda moved back in with him.
3. Brenda becomes a stay-at-home Mom
In December 1990, Brenda Andrew gave birth to their first child, Tricity Andrew. Brenda quit her job and became a stay-at-home mom to look after their baby. Four years later, Brenda gave birth to their second child. But, by that time, Brenda and Robert were already falling apart. Robert had begun to confide in his friends about his crumbling marriage. Friends later testified in court that Brenda would often verbally abuse her husband saying that she hated him. She had also, stated that this marriage was a huge mistake.
4. Brenda’s extramarital affairs
By this time, it could be said that Brenda Andrew was no longer the person she used to be. She began to wear more provocative clothes instead of her usual modest clothing and began having affairs with men.
Her first affair began in 1997. It was with a friend’s husband, Rick Nunley. Brenda used to work with Nunley at a bank in Oklahoma. Rick testified that their affair went on till next spring. However, Brenda and he continued to talk to each other over the phone after that.
Her next affair was in 1999 when she met James Higgins working at a grocery store. James too, was married at the time. He later testified that Brenda walked into the store wearing revealing tops and short skirts, and they regularly flirted with each other. One day, she came into the store and handed Higgins a hotel key, and asked him to meet her at the hotel. They continued seeing each other and kept with their extramarital affair for two years until she told Higgins that it wasn’t fun anymore. The Andrews occasionally hired James to do their house renovations for them. Thus, Brenda and James continued to remain friends.
5. When Brenda met James Pavatt
Robert and Brenda met James Pavatt at the North Pointe Baptist Church. James was working as a life insurance agent back then. Both Brenda and Pavatt taught at the Sunday School. Eventually, Robert and Pavatt became such good friends that he started spending time with the Andrews family.
Somewhere in the mid of 2001, James Pavatt helped Robert to set up an insurance policy that was worth $800,000 and Brenda was the sole beneficiary. At the same time, Brenda and James Pavitt began to see each other. They did not seem to care for other people’s objections, including the people at Church. Soon, they were both dismissed from their work at the Sunday school.
Somewhere around the summer of next year, Pavatt had divorced his wife. Brenda too filed for divorce and Robert had already moved out by then. Once the divorce was initiated, Brenda began to vocally express her hate towards Robert and wished he was dead. Her friends later testified to this.
6. Brenda and Pavatt planned a Fake Accident
On 26th October 2001, an unknown person had severed off brake lines to Robert’s car. The following day, Brenda and Pavatt came up with a false emergency that Brenda Andrew was at the hospital and needed Robert to be there immediately. James Pavatt’s daughter, Janna Larson testified that her father had persuaded her to call Robert from an untraceable source and inform him about the fake emergency. A stranger called Robert with the same news. Since, Robert had already realized that the car brake lines were severed before he got that call, he complained to the police that they were trying to kill him for his insurance money.
7. Alterations in Insurance Policy
After that day of the car incident, Robert decided to erase Brenda from his life. He tried to replace his brother as the insurance beneficiary. When Pavatt learnt about this, he told Robert that he couldn’t make any changes as Brenda Andrew was the primary beneficiary. Robert wouldn’t believe Pavatt so he called up his supervisor and spoke with him. Pavatt’s supervisor reassured Robert that he was the owner of the insurance policy and that he could make any changes, as he wanted. Robert also told the supervisor that he was suspicious that his wife and Pavatt were trying to kill him.
Pavatt got to know that Robert had spoken with his supervisor and went into a fit of anger. He warned Robert to not get him kicked out of his job. It was found out later that Brenda and Pavatt had tried to gain ownership of the insurance policy by forging Robert’s signature.
8. The Thanksgiving Holiday
It was the day of the Thanksgiving Holiday when Robert came to pick up his kids from Brenda’s. It was his turn to be with the children. According to what Brenda said, Robert was in the driveway when she went to him and asked him if he could go down with her to the garage and light the pilot on their furnace. It is believed that when Robert bent down to light it, Pavatt shot him with a rifle. He later handed it over to Brenda Andrew who shot Robert once again. Pavatt, later on, shot Brenda in her arm to not look suspicious. While all this was happening, the children were sitting in the bedroom watching television with the volume turned up. They had no idea what was happening outside, in the garage.
Later, when the police arrived at the scene, Brenda told them that this was the doing of two strange masked men who had shot Robert to death. She explained that they shot her in the arm as she tried to escape. Brenda was rushed to the hospital where she underwent treatment. The doctors told the Police that it was just a superficial wound. The police became more suspicious because the children did not seem to look packed to leave with Robert.
9. The Investigation of Robert’s Murder
The police were informed that Robert owned the same type of gun that was used as the murder weapon. However, Brenda Andrew had not allowed Robert to take it with him when he moved out of the house. So, the police searched the house thoroughly for it, but did not find the weapon anywhere.
At the same time, the police discovered that someone had entered the attic of their neighbor’s house. They found the 0.22 shotgun caliber bullets & shells on the floor. The neighbors were out of town the night the murder took place but had given Brenda their house keys.
James Pavatt’s daughter, Janna Larson, called the police and told them that she had found a .22 caliber bullet in her car that her father had borrowed from her the previous night. He had also told her to throw those away. While investigating, the bullet matched the ones found in the neighbors’ attic.
10. The Run
Brenda Andrew and Pavatt flew to Mexico instead of attending Robert’s funeral. They took Brenda’s children with them. Pavatt called his daughter repeatedly asking her for money. Little did he know that she was cooperating with the police. Finally, after they had run out of money, they returned to the USA where they were arrested at the airport.
11. Trial and Sentencing of Brenda Andrew and James Pavatt
James and Brenda were charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy. Based on the evidence, both of them were sentenced to death. Brenda showed no remorse and claims that she is not guilty of any charges. Both their appeals were denied and they remain on death row in a correctional facility in Oklahoma. (See What does it feel like to be in prison?)