Linwood Earl Briley was the oldest brother, the calculating leader of the Briley brothers gang.
As far as police know, he began his murderous career at age 16 when he shot and killed a 57-year-old neighbor, Orline Christian, on Jan. 28, 1971. She was hanging laundry in her backyard.
She had just buried her husband, so relatives thought stress might have caused a heart attack. But when the funeral home returned the robe she had been wearing, the family noticed a small, bloody hole in the back.
James Dyral Briley, about two years younger than his brother, had the face of a man who was born to die in the electric chair, a veteran prosecutor once remarked.
“He wasn’t bright like Linwood, and he was cold,” Warren Von Schuch, now special prosecutor for Chesterfield County, said recently.
Youngest brother Anthony Ray Briley took part in the vicious robbery and murder rampage 30 years ago but was spared the electric chair because authorities had no evidence that he personally killed anyone.
Together, the Briley brothers and their teenage accomplice, Duncan Eric Meekins, killed at least 11 people in the Richmond area in 1979. Authorities believe they might have killed or severely injured as many as 20 people.