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Brazelton, ex-D.A., dies at 66
James Brazelton, the former Stanislaus County District Attorney who prosecuted the Scott Peterson murder case, and a former Ceres resident, has died.

Brazelton died Monday at a Modesto hospital. He was 66.

The prosecutor served the county for nine years and stepped down in July 2005 to take a higher paying consultant position. He was replaced by Brazelton's chief assistant, Carol Shipley, as an interim. The voters then elected Birgit Fladager.

Brazelton, then a Ceres resident, was appointed district attorney on March 19, 1996, by the Board of Supervisors to fill the unexpired term of the retiring District Attorney Donald Stahl. In the 1998 and 2002 elections, Brazelton was unopposed and was elected to serve four-year terms.

Brazelton's career began in 1960 as a military policeman assigned to the White House security detail. In 1963 he joined the Bakersfield Police Department as a patrolman, motorcycle officer and detective. In 1968, he joined the Orange Police Department, working his way through the ranks as patrolman, detective, watch commander, SWAT team commander and sergeant. It was there he made lifelong friends with Pete Peterson, the former Ceres police chief.

In 1985, Mr. Brazelton came to the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office.

At times Brazelton came across as crass, rough prosecutor. When he learned that Leonard Miller, the convicted killer of Sheriff's Deputy Billy Joe Dickens, suffered a heart attack after Brazelton fought his parole release from prison, Brazelton said he "would love to take credit for it."

Miller gunned down Dickens during a Jan. 27, 1970 bank robbery in Hughson.