A Florida man previously convicted of murder in Massachusetts is now running for city council in Palm Bay and hoping to bring positive change to the coastal town.

Michael Bruyette, 59, spent 30 years in prison for beating a man to death in June 1985 before he was paroled with special conditions in 2016 for demonstrating good behavior, according to state records.

“My case never went to trial. I stepped up, and I said, yes, I did it,” Bruyette told Fox News Digital of his crime, adding that prosecutors “made it out to be much more than what it was.”

State records show that Bruyette’s friend, Lisa Grimshaw, “solicited” Bruyette and two other friends to kill her abusive ex-husband, stating that her ex had a $300,000 life insurance policy “that she would share with them if they assisted her in killing him.” Bruyette was 19 years old at the time.

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He and the other two men beat the man with a bat, but Bruyette maintains he never meant to kill him. Criminal defense attorney Nancy Gertner described Grimshaw’s plan for vengeance as “battered woman syndrome” in a 2012 interview.

“It wasn’t my intention to kill this person.”

— Michael Bruyette

“It’s nothing more than me intervening on a guy that kept repeatedly raping his ex-wife, breaking into her home, beating her up. … One night, [the abuse] was happening, and this happened,” Bruyette said of the night that landed him three decades in prison. “It wasn’t my intention to kill this person.”

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Palm Bay sign outside of City Hall

The city council candidate, who has previous experience working for the city’s utilities department, said he’s not afraid of his past being put under the microscope now that he’s running for a government position. He described himself as “an open book,” “hardworking, responsible, loyal and truthful.”

Bruyette is campaigning in part on giving more resources to the Palm Bay Police and bringing a Boys and Girls Club to the city, saying childcare and after-school sports have become too expensive for parents. As a parent himself, he has concerns for “at-risk youth” in the area who have few recreational options that are free and safe. He’s also pushing for “insurance reform” and more affordable housing options.

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Michael Bruyette flyer listing his goals as a city council candidate

“It’s just a shame this city is just going to hell,” Bruyette said. “No one wants to do anything.”

“[T]his city is just going to hell.”

— Michael Bruyette

So far, Bruyette says locals have been open to his candidacy despite his criminal background.

“I think people are more receptive to the fact that I am transparent,” he said. “What about the ones that are sitting on that board right now that aren’t transparent? … Because I can tell you a whole lot.”

Bruyette’s parole officer allowed him to run for a city council seat, and he is listed on the Palm Bay website as an official candidate for Seat 3 on the city council, as FOX 35 Orlando first reported. The city council election will be held on Nov. 5. A primary election will be held on Aug. 20.

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