ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A grand jury has charged a Rochester man with the murder of his estranged wife and daughter which occurred during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Patrick D. Brooks, 37, is charged with two counts of second degree murder in the deaths of Christie and Victoria Brooks.
The pair were found shot to death inside their Wellington Avenue home around 7 a.m. on Nov. 25.
Victoria Brooks, an 18-year-old freshman at Canisius College, was home for the holiday break. Her mother, Christie, had celebrated her 35th birthday on Thanksgiving.
Patrick Brooks has been in and out of state prison during the last few years, released on parole twice since 2014. The most recent release came just nine weeks before the murders, according to a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
Brooks had been convicted of robbery and criminal possession of a weapon in 2014, and was paroled in May of that year. He violated the conditions of his parole in October 2015 when he was charged with grand larceny, returning to prison in June of 2016 and being released again on Sep. 20.
He was also convicted of robbery in 2002, serving almost four years in prison for that offense.
State police detained Brooks the day after the murders were discovered. He has been held in the Monroe County Jail since Nov. 26 on a parole violation.
Assistant district attorney William Gargan unsealed the indictment Friday afternoon in a courtroom packed with friends and family members. An attorney for Brooks entered a plea of not guilty. County court judge Vincent Dinolfo ordered Brooks held without bail. He'll return to court for a hearing on Jan. 12.
Police have offered few details about how or why they believe the killings occurred, but family members have said another child in the house found the bodies and called 911. Christie Brooks and seven of her children lived at the residence. With her oldest daughter off to college, the remaining children ranged in age from 6 to 16.
Christie's brother-in-law, Jonathan Pugh said the family had moved to Wellington Avenue about three months earlier, after a home they lived in a few blocks away on Frost Avenue burned down.
Court records on file with the Monroe County Clerk's Office show that Christie Brooks had filed for a divorce in November 2015, shortly after her husband's arrest. Those records, which are not available to the public as a matter of course, have been ordered sealed. The couple was married in 2002.
Christie Brooks was a customer service worker at the Walmart on Hudson Avenue in Rochester. Co-workers say that helping others came naturally to her.
"She was just the happiest person, so happy and energetic," said Jasmine Sampler, the store personnel manager. "Nobody's ever going to replace Christie. Nobody."
Victoria Brooks graduated from Our Lady of Mercy High School in June and had been a popular employee at the Dunkin Donuts store on Buffalo Road in Gates.
Includes reporting by staff writer David Andreatta