Maryland man pleads guilty to second-degree murder in 40-year-old cold case

The Howard County’s State’s Attorney’s Office said Tuesday that a Laurel, Maryland, man pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge from 1982.

In a release, State’s Attorney Rich Gibson said Howard Jackson Bradberry, 64, was arrested on May 25, 2021, after DNA results linked Bradberry to the decades-old kidnapping and murder of Laney Lee McGadney.

“For four decades, no one was held responsible for the brutal and senseless killing of a young woman whose life was cut short by the violent actions of the defendant,” Gibson said, thanking the investigative team for their work.

“We hope that today’s guilty plea provides some closure to the McGadney family, who has had to wait an inordinate amount of time for justice for their loved one.”

McGadney, 28, was abducted as she walked along Oakland Mills Road, according to witnesses, near her Columbia home.

Officials said her body was left in a vacant lot, discovered hours after she went missing in an area now known as Water Lily Way. She had been stabbed to death and raped.

Police collected the evidence from the incident, but were unable to identify Bradberry until May 2021.

Bradberry was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree murder; first- and second-degree rape; and kidnapping. His sentencing will be Dec. 1. Bradberry faces up to 25 years in prison.

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Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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