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Press Release

Charleston man pleads guilty in Federal court to 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 against him pleaded guilty today, announced United States Attorney Booth Goodwin. Marlon Dewayne Dixon, 39, entered his guilty plea in federal court in Charleston, West Virginia, 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 included federal drug trafficking convictions in 1999 and 2006, and a Kanawha County conviction of malicious wounding in 2007.

Dixon faces a mandatory sentence of life in federal prison when he is sentenced on March 17, 2016.

“The murder of Branda Basham is another tragic reminder of the horrible impact that heroin and opioid trafficking has had on our community. I want to join the prosecutors and law enforcement involved in this investigation to express my deepest condolences to the Basham family,” said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. “My office remains committed, along with our partners in law enforcement, to aggressively prosecuting violent drug dealers like Marlon Dixon and to supporting treatment and recovery for those suffering from opioid addiction. I also want to commend the bravery of those citizens who came forward and provided invaluable information that led to the arrest and successful prosecution of Dixon. Their willingness to cooperate with this investigation has made it possible for justice to be served.”

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.

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 cases 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 drug trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of opiate painkillers and other drugs in communities across the Southern District.

Updated November 9, 2015

Violent Crime