When Brandon A. Clark recorded the murder of 17-year-old Bianca Devins and attempted to livestream his own suicide, he also set up a song to play on loop in the background and spray-painted the area on Poe Street with a suicide-related quote from a Japanese manga and a picture of the Big Dipper constellation.
This grisly, staged scene was described in detail as Clark, age 22, pleaded guilty on Monday to killing Devins, a girl he had met on the internet only about two months prior.
Clark, of Cicero, pleaded guilty before Judge Michael L. Dwyer to second-degree murder and accepted the maximum charge of 25 years to life in prison. During his guilty plea, Clark apologized to both the Devins family and his own, as well as everyone else affected by the July 14 homicide.
“It’s never been my intention to deny my guilt. What I did, I can’t undo, as much as I want to,” Clark said in a statement following his guilty plea. His voice was scratchy due to a self-inflicted knife wound to his neck.
“I need to face it. I apologize to everybody affected by this. I know that ‘sorry’ is not enough. I know that it won’t take back what I did. I wish I had more to give.”
Clark added, “She didn’t deserve what happened to her.”
Sentencing is scheduled for April 6.
According to Clark, he and Devins went to a concert in New York City on the night before the killing. He said that Devins told him she was meeting another man there, and Clark said he saw the two of them kiss during the concert. Clark said they returned to Utica and drove to Poe Street, which is one of the first places they met.
Clark admitted to having an “intimate” moment with Bianca, which he filmed on his cell phone. He told the court that Bianca went to sleep in the back seat of the car and he set up a camera on the dashboard. Clark told the court that he hid the knife with his hand and woke up Bianca, telling her he wanted to talk about the kiss from the concert.
Devins told Clark that she and Clark were not a couple, prosecutor Sarah DeMellier said, and Clark struck her and said that was “not good enough”. After Devins got dressed, DeMellier asked Clark if he sawed into her neck with the knife.
“You saw into her throat?” DeMellier asked in court as she was leading him through the step-by-step moments of the murder.
“It was multiple slices, ma’am,” a raspy Clark confirmed.
DeMellier said the murder was captured on video. She said Clark then used his cell phone to record Devins’ last breaths.
According to Clark, he then started posting pictures of her body on the internet, on communities that Devins used to frequent, including Discord and Instagram. He also posted his own suicide message on Facebook and changed his biography on Instagram to include his new date of death, intending to commit suicide, prosecutors said. Clark made several insulting statements to Devins’ followers online when he posted the pictures of her body, prosecutors said.
Several of the people who saw the messages and photographs on the internet called 9-1-1, prosecutors stated.
Clark said in court that he could not remember in exactly what order he took Devins’ body out of the vehicle or when he started spray-painting messages on the ground.
“I haven’t been able to figure that out yet,” Clark said multiple times under questioning.
Clark admitted to wrapping Devins’ body in his childhood blanket and putting her on the ground. According to previous evidence in the case, the first police officer had arrived on the scene at that point. Clark admitted to slashing his own throat, and DeMellier said she believes his suicide attempt was legitimate.
DeMellier also said that she believed Clark killed Devins because Devins confirmed that they were not a couple.
Clark admitted to lying down beside Devins with his head on her body. Clark admitted to using a portable speaker to play the song “I Remember” by the band Deadmau5 on a loop while he took photographs of himself and his neck wound, and posted them on Instagram. Clark admitted to calling several family members at some point after the killing.
During his guilty plea, Clark, admitted to several internet searches that the DA’s Office uncovered in the months and weeks leading up to the July 14 homicide. Clark admitted to searching for information on Devins online and saving pictures.
Clark admitted to researching the Big Dipper constellation, which he later spray-painted at the crime scene. He also spray-painted the phrase, “May you never forget me”, which he took from a Japanese manga called “Goodnight Punpun”, which dealt with a suicide. Clark told his grandmother that the manga inspired the crime, prosecutors said.
The DA’s Office said in court that they had uncovered several videos of Clark playing with a knife, and that he also researched being an organ donor, tying a hangman’s noose and how to properly choke someone. He also researched how to air an event live on social media.
In court, Clark said he chose to plead guilty today so that he would have to have to “put the family through having to review the evidence in the trial,” saying that he meant both the Devins family and his own.
DeMellier said she believes Clark pleaded guilty so that the public would not see the brutal video of him cutting Devins’ throat. DeMellier added that a new charge of possession of prison contraband — after Clark was found with a sharpened toothbrush at the county jail — may have prompted Clark to consider pleading guilty instead of taking the case to trial.
Following the guilty plea, Devins’ family said they were relieved that they would not have to go through a trial.
“Today was a very important step in our seeking justice for Bianca. We’re very, very much relieved the family will not have to go through the trial,” said Frank Williams’, Devins’ grandfather.
“We are relieved that he took responsibility for his actions, that he took sole responsibility for his actions.”
Williams said the family has started the Bianca Michelle Devins Memorial Scholarship Fund for college students pursuing a degree in psychology, who intend to help youths with mental health issues. A tearful Williams said his granddaughter would be studying that very thing in college today if she were still alive.
“He was right,” Williams said about Clark’s guilty plea. “Bianca did not deserve this.”