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Press Release

Charleston drug dealer sentenced to life in Federal prison for murdering witness

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Charleston man who murdered a witness was sentenced today to life in federal prison, announced Acting United States Attorney Carol Casto. Marlon Dewayne Dixon, 39, previously pleaded guilty to witness tampering by killing.

At approximately 3:00 a.m. on July 12, 2014, Dixon lured Branda Mae Delight Basham, the murder victim, to a secluded section of railroad track in Charleston near the 700 block of Breece Street. At gunpoint, Dixon forced Basham to admit working with police to make undercover purchases of heroin from him. He then repeatedly shot Basham with a 9 mm pistol, killing her. She was 22 years old. After the murder, Dixon went to a nearby residence on Madison Street where he cleaned himself and disposed of his clothing. The next day, police interviewed a local woman who identified the Madison Street residence where she had seen Dixon shortly before the time of the murder.

Detectives from the Charleston Police Department executed a search warrant at the Madison Street residence. Police seized video from a surveillance camera that recorded Dixon wiping down the front door of the residence and carrying away several bags. Detectives also seized a pair of Dixon’s shoes found at the residence. Basham’s DNA was recovered from bloodstains on the shoes.

On July 17, 2014, Dixon surrendered to Charleston Police. He waived his Miranda rights and confessed to killing Basham. He admitted that he intended to retaliate against Basham for cooperating with law enforcement and to prevent her from testifying against him. 

At the time of the murder, Dixon had been previously convicted of several felony offenses. These include federal drug trafficking convictions in 1999 and 2006, and a Kanawha County conviction of malicious wounding in 2007.

“Branda Basham’s murder is a horrible tragedy and a stark reminder of the enormous cost of drug crime. I want the Basham family to know that the prosecutors and law enforcement who took part in this investigation join me in sending our deepest condolences,” said Acting United States Attorney Carol Casto. “Heroin and opioid trafficking has ravaged our community, which is why aggressively prosecuting violent drug dealers like Marlon Dixon, along with supporting treatment options for recovering addicts, remains a top priority for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners. It is also important to note the courage of citizens who came forward to provide crucial information that led to Dixon’s arrest and prosecution. We must all continue working together if we want to effectively fight the drug epidemic.”

This case was investigated by the Charleston Police Department, the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Hanks is in charge of the prosecution. United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston imposed the sentence.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in the United States by working with existing local programs targeting gun violence. This case was also prosecuted as part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat illegal drugs in our communities, including the illicit sale and misuse of prescription drugs and heroin. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of illegal drugs in communities across the Southern District.

Updated June 13, 2016

Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime