Jury finds Renard Brooks guilty of kidnapping former Fresno County official

A jury found a man guilty of kidnapping and robbing the former Fresno County environmental health director late Friday afternoon.
February 21, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
A jury found a man guilty of kidnapping and robbing the former Fresno County environmental health director late Friday afternoon.

The courtroom was silent as the clerk read the verdict. But Tim Casagrande's face and his wife's tears betrayed some loud emotions as they could finally separate themselves from their day of terror.

Renard Brooks sat expressionless and didn't move an inch when the guilty verdict came down. Pictures, video, fingerprints, and witnesses all proved the 27-year-old broke into Tim Casagrande's home last October, then robbed and kidnapped him.

Casagrande and his wife had to relive the horror of that day in court. When an Action News asked if it was the worst day of his life, he didn't hesitate.

"By far," he said. "By many times. But this is the beginning of getting over it."

Casagrande testified Brooks held a gun to him in the house, tied him up with his own clothing, then took him around town in his own car to withdraw money from the bank and get Brooks closer to his home base.

Casagrande tells me he's just thankful he lived to tell the tale. And a week after his testimony, the emotional trauma is finally coming to an end and the healing can begin.

"We're relieved that it's over and thankful for the good work of the law enforcement agencies involved and thankful for the outcome," he said.

The jury needed less than two hours to decide Brooks was guilty on all the counts and enhancements against him.

A judge will now decide if Brooks has prior convictions for carjacking and other felonies. Either way, though, he'll serve a life sentence in prison.


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