The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Oklahoma man pleads guilty in ‘atomic wedgie’ death

Placeholder while article actions load

An Oklahoma man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter for killing his stepfather with an “atomic wedgie,” pulling the man’s own underwear over his head and causing him to suffocate. At a hearing Wednesday, he told the judge: “Things got out of hand.”

On Monday, Brad Lee Davis, 34, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter ahead of a jury trial set for next week. At a mitigation hearing on Wednesday, he described the incident to a judge who was trying to determine his punishment, the Shawnee News-Star reported.

Days before Christmas 2013 in his mother’s trailer in McLoud, about 30 miles from Oklahoma City, Davis got into a fight with his stepfather, 58-year-old Denver Lee St. Clair, and St. Clair came at him. “I was defending myself with all I had,” he said, according to the Oklahoman.

“I was panicked, mad, scared,” he said. “It’s like a bad dream. Things got out of hand.”

Davis admitted he knocked his stepfather unconscious and, while he was passed out, Davis pulled his blue underwear and stretched it over his head from behind. He said he wanted his stepfather to be embarrassed when he came to.

“I never had any intention of killing that man,” he told the judge. “There’s no way I ever thought that could have happened.”

The medical examiner said St. Clair died from blunt force trauma to the head and asphyxiation, the Oklahoman reported last year. The underwear’s elastic band had slipped around his neck and cut off his air supply, according to the New York Daily News.

“I’d never seen this before, but when we first looked at our victim seeing the waistband of his underwear was around his neck,” Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth told the Oklahoman.

Davis had allegedly texted a friend saying he intended to fight St. Clair and, in a later message, said he had nothing to lose, according to court documents. But Davis’s attorney, Bob Wyatt, said Davis never intended any real harm.

“There was never any intent to kill him that way. I don’t think it was even foreseeable to him,” he told the Oklahoman. “When he was interviewed that night, he said, ‘Man, I did a horrible thing when I gave him that wedgie.’ … He didn’t even really know the guy died.”

“He was just tired of taking it. He had been bullied all his life by this guy.”

Davis’s sentencing is set for July 16. Prosecutors are seeking a 35-year prison term.