The Highland Park home of the notorious Briley brothers, whose killing rampage more than three decades ago was one of Richmond’s most horrifying crime stories, is on the market for $29,950.
The arts and crafts-style house is described as an investor’s special in need of some TLC. “You will more than likely need a renovation loan if you want to finance this property,” the listing says.
The four-bedroom, one-bath house on Fourth Avenue was the home of Linwood Earl Briley, the ring leader, and his two younger brothers, James Dyral Briley and Anthony Ray Briley.
The Briley brothers and their teenage accomplice, Duncan Eric Meekins, who lived on the same block, killed at least 11 people in the Richmond area in 1979, striking down blacks, whites, poor people and those of better means in seemingly random sections of the city and Henrico County.
Linwood Briley is believed to have begun his murder rampage at age 16 when he shot and killed a 57-year-old neighbor, Orline Christian, on Jan. 28, 1971, as she was hanging laundry in her backyard.
The boys lived in the family home with their father and pets, including a boa constrictor, a tarantula and piranhas.
The gang was arrested in 1979, but fear gripped the city when Linwood and James Briley participated in the largest escape from death row in the nation’s history on May 31, 1984. The duo was captured in Philadelphia 19 days later.
Linwood and James Briley were executed in the electric chair. The youngest brother, Anthony, was sentenced to multiple life terms in December 1980. Meekins, the star witness who testified against the Briley brothers, remains in prison.
The house apparently stayed in the Briley family until early last year, according to city records. It was purchased for $20,000 by Degratia Development LLC. The company’s name means by favor or grace.
David Dagenhart Jr., owner of Degratia, said he didn’t know about the history of the house until being informed about it Tuesday.
His company buys, renovates and leases single-family homes in the Richmond area. Occasionally, he puts a house back on the market, as he did this one, and if it doesn’t sell, he renovates it.
He said his plan for this house, which was built in 1920, was to start renovating it by the end of the year if it didn’t sell.
“This house needs a little bit more work than others,” Dagenhart said.
Properties can become stigmatized because of a scandal, crime or unusual event and houses with stigmas are generally harder to sell because of psychological associations, real estate experts say.
However, a house in South Richmond connected with a sordid and much newer and rawer past than this one sold in one week in 2007.
The house on West 31st Street in Woodland Heights was the home of Bryan and Kathryn Harvey, who were slain there in a home invasion on New Year’s Day in 2006 along with their two daughters.
The house was renovated, put on the market and sold to a young couple, who are caring for the house, as the Harveys would want, neighbors say. The couple reportedly knew about the history.
While some states require full disclosure about stigmas, Virginia does not.