Cambria man sentenced to 27 years to life

November 14, 2013
Brandon Henslee

Brandon Henslee

A mentally ill Cambria man who stabbed his brother in the head with a screwdriver was sentenced to 27 years to life in prison on Wednesday.

A jury found Brandon Henslee, 23, guilty of murdering his brother Tyler Hanks, 20, in 2012 at a home they shared with their mother and her boyfriend Mike Coffin. Witnesses said Hanks was beaten with a baseball bat and stabbed 20 times in the head with a screwdriver.

Witnesses described Hanks as a methamphetamine dealer in a home where drug use was common. Coffin said Hank’s would occasionally beat on his older brother, who would run appliances in an attempt to drown out the voices in his head, to keep him in line.

Hanks and Henslee’s mother Sheri Grayson told CalCoastNews that a lack of mental health services in San Luis Obispo County contributed to her family’s tragedy.

About a year before the murder, Henslee tried to get help for his mental illness. He reached out to a parole psychologist who suggested Henslee check himself into San Luis Obispo’s County Mental Health’s short term facility with plans to move him to a hospital in another county with better mental health services.

However, a worker at San Luis Obispo County Mental Health found Henslee’s demeanor threatening and he was taken from the mental health facility to jail before he could be transported out of county.

Henslee is the sixth mentally ill person to be suspected or accused of killing in 20 months in San Luis Obispo County.