A woman who said Michael Lebron Branham put a gun to her head and robbed her testified Tuesday that he has made threats against her to try to get her not to come to court.
And the second alleged victim in the March 10, 2011, incident, was brought to court from state prison, but he refused to testify. Reginald Hubbard repeatedly said he was not going to testify, though Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman ordered him to do so. Finally, Judge Steelman said, "Take him back to the DOC." He is serving time for aggravated robbery.
A portion of the tape was played to the jury in which Hubbard did testify at a preliminary hearing that Branham told him if he did not turn over the money that he "would be sprayed."
Branham, who police say has been involved in several gang-relating shootings, is standing trial for aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, aggravated assault, coercion of a witness and being in possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Regika Tillery said she was outside her residence at Emma Wheeler Homes when Branham and another black male came up to her. She said Branham put a gun to her head and demanded money.
She said Branham then turned the gun on Reginald Hubbard, father of her child who was born four days after the robbery. She said Branham approached him with a gun and demanded money. She said Branham handed over $150 to $200 from his pocket and she said Branham helped himself to a bag of marijuana from the kitchen table as he left the room.
Prosecutor Lance Pope said while investigator Jacques Weary was interviewing the couple that Branham called Ms. Tillery, saying, "You're not going to call police, are you? You're not supposed to have drugs at your house."
He said the investigator got on the line and Branham promised to sit down and talk about the incident, but instead he was on the run for three months.
The prosecutor said Branham picks victims "who have issues" because he does not believe they will report the crime.
Ms. Tillery said recently a cousin and his girlfriend had approached her in behalf of Branham, offering money if she would not testify and warning her if she did.
She said she declined the money and came to court "because of what he did to me."
At one point in the trial, prosecutor Pope asked a man in the center of the courtroom his name. The man refused to give it.
Judge Steelman then called the man forward after the prosecutor said he believed the man was there to "intimidate" witnesses against Branham. The man told the judge his name is Quincy Mills and said he is a longtime friend of Branham. He said he was in the Crips gang when he was younger. Judge Steelman noted that he was wearing blue. The man soon left the courtroom.
Prosecutor Pope played tapes of several calls Branham made from the jail that he said showed that Branham was orchestrating threats against Ms. Tillery, who was referred to as "Nay. Nay" on the tapes.
At the time of the arrest, Branham was fresh from his second federal prison stint. Branham, who police said is a member of the Rollin Sixty gang, first went to federal prison on weapons charges in 2006 after his name surfaced in several shootings. He was sent back to federal prison for two more years by Judge Sandy Mattice in 2009 after getting into trouble soon after serving an initial 37-month term. Prosecutors said Branham began selling drugs the day he got out of federal prison the first time.
Authorities took steps to revoke his probation in early May 2009 when he was on the scene of a report of shots fired at 3918 Marigold Dr.