Brendan Depa Video Assault: Mother Pleads for Understanding Amidst Autism Challenges

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In a deeply distressing incident that shook Matanzas High School earlier this year, Brendan Depa, a then 17-year-old with autism, unleashed a violent assault on his teacher, Joan Naydich, over the confiscation of his Nintendo Switch. As the details of the attack surfaced, Brendan’s mother, Leanne Depa, has stepped into the public eye, pleading for understanding and leniency for her son, emphasizing the profound challenges he faces due to his autism.

Brendan Depa Video
Brendan Depa Video

Background of the Assault

On that fateful day in February, Brendan Depa attacked Joan Naydich, kicking and punching her until she lost consciousness, leaving her with five broken ribs and hearing loss. The severity of the assault led Naydich to advocate for a 30-year prison sentence for Brendan.

Brendan Depa Video
Brendan Depa Video

Brendan’s Autism and Behavioral Issues

Leanne Depa revealed that Brendan has a severe form of autism, ADHD, oppositional defiance disorder, and reactive explosive disorder, impairing his emotional regulation, understanding of consequences, and impulse control. Despite his behavioral challenges, Brendan was placed in a mainstream public school, Matanzas High School, raising questions about the suitability of such an environment for someone with his condition.

Mother’s Plea for Leniency

Leanne Depa, in her first public appearance, expressed remorse for her son’s actions and apologized for the trauma inflicted on Joan Naydich. However, she pleaded for understanding, stating that a prison sentence would be a “death sentence” for Brendan, who has experienced significant trauma in his life.

Brendan Depa Video
Brendan Depa Video

Concerns About Brendan’s Schooling

Leanne Depa indicated that she had previously homeschooled Brendan due to his inability to handle the traditional school environment. She questioned why Brendan was sent to a mainstream public school when she had expressed concerns about its suitability for him. Brendan’s placement in the school followed his time at an autism behavioral hospital and an intensive behavioral group home.

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Impact of Autism on the Legal Defense

While Brendan’s behavioral issues, linked to his autism, do not constitute a legal defense in Florida, Leanne Depa’s plea highlights the challenges faced by individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders within the criminal justice system.

Current Legal Situation

Brendan, now 18, pleaded guilty to the assault, facing up to 30 years in prison. He is held on a $1 million bond and is awaiting sentencing in January.

Teacher’s Refusal to Mitigate Penalties

Joan Naydich has shown no interest in mitigating the penalties Brendan might face, underscoring the seriousness of the attack and its enduring impact on her.

Ongoing Mental Impact on Joan Naydich

A GoFundMe page was set up for Joan Naydich, raising over $100,000 to support her during the physical and mental recovery. Naydich has not returned to school since the attack, citing the “crippling mental impact” of the assault.


The case of Brendan Depa raises crucial questions about the intersection of neurodevelopmental disorders, the educational system, and the legal consequences of actions. Leanne Depa’s plea sheds light on the need for a nuanced understanding of autism in legal proceedings and the importance of tailoring educational environments to the unique needs of individuals with such conditions. As Brendan awaits sentencing, the case serves as a poignant reminder of the challenges faced by those navigating the complexities of the justice system while contending with neurodevelopmental disorders.