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


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALVAREZ, MARCELINO P  207 LAWS AVE #A CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at Arrest: 45 years old Arresting Agency: Tenn Highway Patrol DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE --- ARNOLD, DERRICK  5191 CENTRAL AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37401  Age at Arrest: 27 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DRIVING ON ... (click for more)

East Ridge To Build Open-Air Pavilion Near City Hall

East Ridge plans to construct an open-air pavilion that will include restrooms and a concession area near City Hall and the old McBrien School.  It will be part of a Town Center for East Ridge at the Tombras Avenue property. The city is also applying for a $500,000 grant to help convert Pioneer Park into a refurbished park with a splash pad. The firm of Hefferlin and ... (click for more)

A Tribute For My Brother – Sgt. Jonathan Gardner, U.S. Army

Seven years ago today, my family and I found out that my brother, Sgt. Jonathan D. Gardner, was seriously injured by a roadside bomb, (explosively formed penetrator - EFP), while on a mission in Kuwait. The EFP went through the bottom of his seat and put a softball size hole in his upper thigh. The doctors said that if the bomb had entered the Humvee an inch to the right, he ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

All of us who marvel at the sound of bagpipes at a funeral realize the majesty that people like piper Scottie Maclellan can lend to any “homecoming” and for years there has been a wonderful tale out of Nova Scotia that leads this week’s parade of The  Saturday  Funnies. Mind you, I do not write these stories, as many who have followed man’s laughter down through the ... (click for more)

Orange Overwhelms White, 34-7, In Tennessee Spring Game

KNOXVILLE – After almost a month of spring camp and four quarters of ones versus twos, one glaring question remains: how much will the fall arrival of graduate transfer Keller Chryst change the dynamic of the battle for starting quarterback?   While new Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt was calling for an electric atmosphere at Saturday’s Orange and White game, the ... (click for more)

Stoker, Tate Prevail In 50th Chickamauga Chase 15K

They couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day weather-wise for the oldest and longest running race on the Chattanooga Track Club’s schedule. Temperatures were cool, but not cold, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.   Add to that the fact there was very little wind and you have perfect conditions for the 50 th Annual Chickamauga Chase. A lot has changed with this ... (click for more)