‘It hurts every day:’ Loved ones of a Leominster native killed in a Vegas triple homicide are waiting for justice


Friends and family of a Leominster native killed in a triple homicide in Las Vegas last summer are anxiously awaiting justice in what has now become a death penalty trial.

Chris Brassard, 45, was a maintenance worker at an apartment complex in Vegas when he and a colleague last June conducted a welfare check on an 80-year-old resident.

Prosecutors say Spencer McDonald, 30, who lives with his grandmother, attacked Brassard and a co-worker when they entered the unit, stabbing Brassard to death.

Police also found the bodies of McDonald’s grandmother, Deena Vail, and her boyfriend, Andrew Garden, bludgeoned and stabbed, inside the apartment. Police say McDonald confessed to the crimes.

“There is a special part of us that is no longer with us, and it hurts us every day,” Alyssa Carlberg, Brassard’s cousin, told Boston 25 News. “Chris has always been one of the funniest people I know. His laugh and smile were infectious, and sometimes when I close my eyes I can still hear him.

One of Brassard’s best friends, Matthew Cormier, a friend since middle school, described his longtime friend as an avid Boston Bruins fan who named his dog Nelly after the retired right-winger, as well as a loyal friend and family member.

While Brassard built a new network of friends after moving to Vegas, he remained close to his buddies in his Massachusetts hometown through visits and calls to check in, Cormier said. Since Brassard’s death, his friends from Nevada have visited Massachusetts and the two groups have had friends bond and grieve together.

“If you’re having a bad day or there’s anything bothering you, make a quick five-minute phone call [with Chris] “Your head is back in the game,” Cormier said. “It’s heartbreaking, because so far, it’s been a little over six months, and nothing has gotten any easier.”

MacDonald is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing in April, with the trial date postponed to March 2025.

“None of us wanted to wait that long,” Cormier said. “That’s a long time, especially with someone who admitted what he did.”

With prosecutors announcing they are seeking the death penalty for McDonald, both Cormier and Karlberg have not decided what they believe the appropriate punishment would be.

“A lot of people want the death penalty — the death penalty. Some people want him to be in prison, because that might be worse for him,” Cormier said. “I’m kind of up in the air. “I really don’t know… What’s worse for him is what I want.”

Meanwhile, Brassard’s friends and family held a celebration of life and continue to share stories about him, determined to keep his memory alive.

“I’m looking for justice, and I want Chris’ memory to be there,” Carlberg said. “I don’t want people to forget who he is or who he was as a person.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates when more information is available.

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