FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
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Maryland Man Found Guilty of Armed Robbery, Other Charges
In Two Attacks, Including a Beating That Led to Serious Injuries
-Crimes Took Place Within About Three Hours Last Summer-
WASHINGTON – Tommy T. Branch, 22, of Fort Washington, Md., was found guilty by a jury today of charges stemming from a pair of attacks last summer, including one in which a man was severely beaten with a baseball bat, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
The jury returned the guilty verdict after a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Branch was found guilty of charges of conspiracy, aggravated assault while armed, armed robbery, assault with intent to rob, and attempted credit card fraud.
The Honorable Robert I. Richter scheduled sentencing for July 2, 2013. Branch, who has been in custody since his arrest last year, faces a statutory maximum of 105 years in prison.
According to the government’s evidence, Branch and two accomplices – Sunny B. Kuti and Michael Moore - decided on Aug. 17, 2012 to commit a robbery together. They drove to the Adams Morgan area of Northwest Washington in Branch’s car. When they could not identify a suitable target, they drove to Capitol Hill and parked down an alley next to Eastern Market.
Shortly after midnight, early in the morning of Aug. 18, 2012, they saw the victim walking home and attacked him.
Branch hit the victim in the side of the head with a bat. He and his accomplices took the victim’s iPhone, credit card, and keys. They then drove to a gas station in the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE, a few blocks away from the robbery scene. Branch tried to use the victim’s credit card to buy gasoline, but the card was refused because he did not know the cardholder’s zip code.
Following this attack, Branch, Kuti, and Moore drove to the Barry Farm area of Southeast Washington where they met a fourth man, Darrin L. Beal. They then set off for the Adams Morgan area to commit a second robbery. At about 3:20 a.m., while Beal remained in the car, Branch, Moore, and Kuti, while armed with a non-functioning BB gun that resembled a real handgun, targeted three victims in an alley off of the 1800 block of 18th Street NW, violently assaulting one victim and taking a cellphone, wallet, and set of keys from another.
The victim of the first robbery, meanwhile, was found, unconscious, by police at about 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 18, 2012, on the front porch of a rowhouse in the 700 block of North Carolina Avenue SE. He had a massive fracture to his skull and bleeding throughout the brain cavity due to the blow from the bat.
“Tommy Branch used an aluminum baseball bat to put a young father into a coma,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “A young family has been changed forever because this defendant carried out a brutal beating to steal an iPhone and a bank card. Today's jury verdict is a reflection of our community's outrage over random acts of violence and our determination to hold criminals accountable. He now faces the prospect of decades in prison and we will ask that he be punished to the full extent of the law.”
Moore, 18, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty to charges for his role in the crimes and is awaiting sentencing. Kuti, 17, of Washington, D.C., and Beal, 25, of Washington, D.C., are awaiting trial. Both have pled not guilty to charges.
In announcing the verdict, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of those who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). He also praised the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including the First District Prosecution team.13-155