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

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