06/13/2024

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Jacob Mandell appears in a Sacrament courtroom on June 3, 2024 to face a charge of murder. YouTube screengrab KCRA.

‘Going too far to help somebody’: Former high school wrestling coach allegedly beat bail bondsman to death after asking to use phone

Jacob Mandell appears in a Sacrament courtroom on June 3, 2024 to face a charge of murder. YouTube screengrab KCRA.

Jacob Levi Mandell, 38, a former high school wrestling coach in California pleaded not guilty this week to the murder of Kevin Brace, a 56-year-old bail bondsman who was working a graveyard shift when, according to police, Mandell dragged Brace from the bond office before beating him to death just outside of it.

Mandell was an El Camino Fundamental High School wrestling coach for the high school’s 2023-2024 season that formally ended in March, local NBC affiliate KCRA reported. He is no longer an employee in the San Juan Unified School District.

His first court appearance in Sacramento was short-lived on Wednesday with the former wrestling coach entering a not guilty plea in under two minutes while sporting a jail-issued orange jumpsuit.

He remains in detention and appears in court next on June 12.

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    Topo Padilla, owner of Greg Padilla Bail Bonds on I Street in Sacramento where Brace worked, told reporters that Brace took the overnight shifts because he genuinely believed that people detained overnight deserved to have a bail bondsman there for them.

    “He made the fatal mistake of going too far to help somebody,” Padilla said, calling Brace a “gentle giant” and “simple man” who had worked as a bondsman for decades without incident.

    “Kevin was not a man walking down the street who got into an altercation with somebody. Kevin was drug out of our office into the streets of Sacramento and beaten to death,” Padilla said, calling it a “savage” beating.

    Brace’s niece told KCRA: “My uncle Kevin was an amazing man. He was kind, loved his family and his community and I know that he loved his job.”

    It is alleged that Mandell approached the bail bonds office and knocked on the door and asked Brace to use the phone. Brace let him in but abruptly afterward, Mandell allegedly dragged him out.

    There does not appear to be any connection between the former high school wrestling coach and Brace other than the coincidence that Brace was a huge fan of wrestling and that Mandell had once secured a bond through his business in 2020 for a resisting arrest charge, Padilla said.

    Police said on Facebook they responded to a call around 4:15 a.m. on June 3 about a report of an assault. Officers performed lifesaving measures, but to no success. Brace died on the scene.

    In a radio appearance for WHAM1180, Brace’s boss lamented that the two arresting officers were forced to split their full attention from providing lifesaving CPR to Brace because they had to fight with a resistant Mandell.

    “There are monsters wandering our streets of this city and cities throughout this country,” he said.

    The Sacramento Police Department asks witnesses to the Brace beating or others with information regarding this investigation to contact its dispatch center at (916) 808-5471 or call the Sacramento Valley Crime Stoppers at (916) 443-HELP (4357). Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

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    The post ‘Going too far to help somebody’: Former high school wrestling coach allegedly beat bail bondsman to death after asking to use phone first appeared on Law & Crime.