By Katie V. Jones

Laurel resident Howard Jackson Bradberry Jr., 64, was sentenced Jan. 5 by Howard County Circuit Court Judge Richard Bernhardt to 25 years in prison for second degree murder in a 40-year-old cold case.

On March 29, 1982, Laney Lee McGadney, 28, was found dead in a vacant lot in Columbia now known as Water Lily Way. The mother of four children had left her apartment to walk to a grocery store in Owen Brown Village Center when witnesses at the time described seeing her being abducted as she walked along Oakland Mills Road, according to the Office of the State’s Attorney for Howard County.

Despite a lengthy investigation,  police were unable to identify a suspect until 2021, when DNA results linked Bradberry to the crime, according to a press release.

Bradberry entered an Alford plea on July 12, 2022 to a charge of second-degree murder. An Alford plea is when a defendant maintains their innocence but admits that the prosecution’s evidence would likely result in a guilty verdict.

“I want to thank Howard County police and our prosecutors for working so diligently on this case,“ State Attorney Rich Gibson said in a press release.” We know today’s sentencing cannot bring back the matriarch of this family, but we do hope it provides some much-needed closure for her 4 kids, 22 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren knowing Bradberry will spend the rest of his life in prison for the innocent life he took and heinous crime he committed.”