Gang Member Michael Branham Gets 29-Year Sentence

Monday, September 17, 2012
Michael Lebron Branham
Michael Lebron Branham

An admitted gang member who has already served two stints in federal prison though he is just 25 was sentenced to 29 years in state prison on Monday.

Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman found that Michael Lebron Branham has been involved in crime since he was a young teen and said he goes back to a life of crime each time he is released.

Branham got 11 years for aggravated robbery to be served at 100 percent. He received nine years for aggravated assault, six years for coercion of a witness and nine years for aggravated burglary. Those sentences are at 35 percent and are consecutive to the 11 years. He also receives a mandatory nine-year term for use of a firearm during the commission of a felony. It is also to be served consecutively.

A jury earlier found Branham guilty in connection with a March 10, 2011, robbery at Emma Wheeler Homes.

Witnesses said Branham and another man burst into a residence with guns and demanded money. They got away with from $150-$200 and a small bag of marijuana. The other man has not been identified. Branham was questioned Monday on the stand by prosecutor Lance Pope, and he claimed he was alone in the incident.

It was testified that Branham was armed with a Tech9 assault rifle and he told those at the residence, "I'll spray you."

While a police investigator was at the scene, Branham called Regika Tillery to warn her not to call police. Ms. Tillery put the call on speaker phone and the detective listened in, then got on the phone himself with Branham.

Branham admitted he earlier was a member of the Rollin' 60s Crips. He displayed a "Rollin'" tattoo on his hand and acknowledged he is sometimes called "M60." He identified himself by that name in one jail conversation that was taped.

His mother, Kathy Johnson, said he was "a sweet child" whose father had no part in his life. She noted he was ADHD as a child and he began to get into trouble in Juvenile Court when he was 14.

Another of her sons, LeMario Branham, has been charged in a recent murder of a woman at East Lake Courts, but she said he was falsely accused.

Michael Branham told a probation officer that in the past he used marijuana four days a week and ecstasy pills daily.

He said he has a young daughter in Atlanta. He was in prison when she was born. He had been in Atlanta at a halfway house following his second federal prison stint.  

Branham, who was smiling after imposition of the lengthy prison terms, said he got his GED in prison earlier and will continue to study while he serves the new sentences. 

Judge Steelman said Branham is intelligent and a leader, but he said he had not used those abilities "in a positive way."

 

Branham after the sentencing
Branham after the sentencing

Sign Up To Get The Latest News, Opinions From Chattanoogan.com In Real Time; Win Set Of Chattanooga Photo Books

Sign up for our Facebook and Twitter feeds and you will get the  local news in "real time." You will also be entered for a chance to win the complete set of the Chattanooga Photo Books published by Chattanoogan.com. We will give away three sets of The Remarkable Stokes Collection, Railroads In and Around Chattanooga and Paul Hiener's Historic Chattanooga to our new Facebook ... (click for more)

County Commission May Amend Resolution Dealing With 501(c)(3)s; Humane Society Says It Won't Comply

The County Commission may amend a resolution it passed that would put a member of the commission on the board of the 501(c)(3)s that receive over 25 percent of their funding from the county. It would also require the agencies to follow county purchasing, travel and expense policies. After the measure was passed 6-3, the county got a letter from the Humane Education Society ... (click for more)

CPS Should Have A Manned 24/7 Presence In Every County

This week something became abundantly clear to me. The Department of Child Protective Services in the state of Tennessee, or at least in Hamilton County, are asleep at the wheel.   Early yesterday afternoon local news stations broke the news: "Animals Removed from Soddy Daisy Home."  What the news station either didn't know, or didn't report, was that the children of ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Heroes Gather On July 14

Oliver North, whose journey as American patriot has not been an easy one, never lost hope. He once admitted he lied to Congress under oath, was found guilty of three felony counts after he followed the direct orders of his superiors, and then endured the wrath of the ignorant before the ACLU – of all sources – had the charges vacated. The former Lt. Colonel in the Marine Corps ... (click for more)

Chattanooga FC Hosts Memphis City FC Wednesday

 What a week it's been for CFC. After starting the season scoring only six goals in eight games, the boys in blue have racked up 12 goals in the last three matches, most recently shutting down FC Carolina United 5-0 this past Saturday.  Chattanooga FC returns to the pitch this Wednesday to take on interstate rival Memphis City FC in a must win game for both teams  ... (click for more)

Rodriquez Homers Twice As Lookouts Trip M-Braves Wednesday, 5-1

PEARL, Miss.  -- Jonathan Rodriguez hit two home runs as the Chattanooga Lookouts defeated the Mississippi Braves 5-1 on Wednesday. After already winning the first-half of the Southern League North Division, the Lookouts have opened the second-half in first place at 5-1. The Lookouts put together a strong, complete game with good pitching and some timely hitting.  ... (click for more)