On Thanksgiving weekend in 2004 people in Montgomery were shocked to learn of the murders of Brent Springford, Sr. and his wife Charlotte who were brutally beaten to death in their own home in the Garden District.
The couple's son, Brent, Jr., quickly became a suspect and would eventually be charged, tried and sentenced to life without parole.
These murders, as well as events related to the crime, are the subject of the new book Drifting Into Darkness: Murder, Madness, Suicide and a Death ‘Under Suspicious Circumstances’ written by author and investigative journalist Mark Pinsky and published by NewSouth Books.
Pinsky says he was first made aware of the case by his sister-in-law, Susan Wardell, who was hired as a death penalty mitigation specialist to prevent Brent, Jr. from being sentenced to death.
Wardell provided Pinsky with fifteen boxes of case files which he says are “priceless” and took “6 months to go through.” Reading through these files convinced Pinsky that he should write a book about the murders and his next step was to visit Montgomery to interview as many people as were willing to speak with him.
“Outside of Montgomery not too many people knew about this case,” he says and he initially met with reluctance from the Springford family who “asked some people not to talk to me.”
Eventually people began to speak with Pinsky and as he tells it, “I spoke to a lot of people in Montgomery and they were very generous with their time.” These people included former Montgomery District Attorney Ellen Brooks and Circuit Judge William Shashy.
After his time in Montgomery Pinsky went to Boulder, Colorado where Brent, Jr. had been living and began to learn things that few in Montgomery had been aware of. Brent's mysterious wife, Carolyn Scout, whom Pinsky describes as a “shaman”, seemed to be exploiting his mental illness for financial gain.
Brent, Jr. suffered from mental health issues and was taken in by this woman who Pinsky believes manipulated him into committing the murders. During his investigation another body was discovered on Scout's property belonging to a man who had named Scout as the sole beneficiary on two separate life insurance policies despite having a daughter.
These extraordinary events unfold throughout the book, which Pinsky says he tried his best to make “the trial that Carolyn Scout never had.” Scout died in 2019 and Brent, Jr. committed suicide in prison in 2013.
Drifting Into Darkness: Murder, Madness, Suicide and a Death ‘Under Suspicious Circumstances’ was released in April by NewSouth Books and is available in stores and as an ebook. Mark Pinsky will visit Montgomery for the official book launch on June 9th at Read Herring on South Court Street followed by visits to Gulf Shores, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. Also during his visit Pinsky will officially donate all of his research papers from the book to the library of Troy University.
For more information on the book visit www.newsouthbooks.com or call them at 334-834-3556.