Drug dealer tells cops he really just wanted his $700, but two brothers wound up dead

Joseph Bruny
Joseph Bruny

What a suspect described as a life-and-death struggle over $700 ended with two brothers fatally shot New Year’s Eve afternoon, Boynton Beach police said.

One fact on the police report, however, casts doubt on whether the suspect killed the brothers in a firefight or as an execution.

Joseph Bruny, 26, sits in the Main Detention Center of the Palm Beach County Jail on two charges of first-degree murder and one count of robbery with a firearm. The two brothers, identified by a WPEC CBS12 report as 24-year-old Malcolm Frederick and 21-year-old Jamal Frederick, were found in a carport. Under the face of one brother, according to the arrest report, was a Cobray M-11 9mm pistol. A Para Ordinance .45-caliber pistol was found under the body of the other. CBS12 says the carport and the house belonged to the Fredericks’ grandmother.

Cops claim Bruny didn’t try to hide anything after they stopped him as he left the scene in his black Lincoln. In fact, he was on the phone with Boynton Beach police dispatch. Cops say he told them he had two guns in the car, that he had a concealed weapons permit and the handgun he carries fired 5.7 x 28mm bullets, the type of casings found in the carport.

And, the report says Bruny admitted his connection to the Fredericks — he was their source for marijuana. He knew they were brothers, but didn’t know their real names, he said. He knew the older one (Malcolm) as “Nephew” and tried not to speak to the younger one (Jamal) “because he was a hot head.”

About a month ago, Bruny said, he advanced the Fredericks a quarter-pound of marijuana, worth about $700. While rolling in his Lincoln Friday, Bruny told cops, he ran into a bike-riding Malcolm. Malcolm told Bruny he’d have his $700 in two days.

Bruny said he called Malcolm Sunday morning. Malcolm didn’t answer. Jamal answered via text: “something to the sort of ‘---- you, you’re not getting your money.”

Bruny said despite Jamal’s truculent reply, Malcolm told Bruny he could swing by the house where they usually meet to get the money. When he arrived, Bruny said, the brothers exuded a different vibe than usual. Instead of coming out to meet his car, they stayed seated under the carport. So, Bruny went to them.

“What’s up, Nephew, you don’t want to pay me my money?” Bruny said he asked. He claimed he noticed a smirking Jamal with his right hand in his pocket. Bruny described yanking a handgun and wallet out of Jamal’s right pocket, pushing a now-standing Jamal up against the wall and hearing Jamal tell Malcolm, “shoot him.” Bruny said that’s when he stepped back and began firing.

But police noted that it “appeared as though all shots entered from the back side of both victims.”

Convictions for loitering and resisting an officer without violence comprise Bruny’s criminal rap sheet in Palm Beach County.