Habitual-offender teen indicted … again

Corbin Branch

Already in the custody of the Jefferson County Jail for a slew of felony allegations after he and alleged co-conspirators Demarcus Brown, 26, and Fredrick Tyson, 21, were arrested in the midst of a crime spree that targeted Beaumont’s West End earlier this year, 19-year-old Corbin Branch is facing additional felony charges after a grand jury handed up indictments this week alleging even more bad acts committed by the teenage criminal.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed by police to obtain a June 6 matching pair of aggravated robbery indictments, Branch and an unidentified cohort brandished a real-looking toy gun along with a “long gun” to rob an unsuspecting couple lured to their victimization via Facebook.

Sometime around March 1, the affidavit states, a male and female victim were in communication on Facebook with someone claiming to be selling a car. After some online communication, the group agreed to meet to facilitate the vehicle’s purchase. However, when the buyers arrived, they were met with the barrel of a gun instead of a title to a new car.

“The black male subject pointed the weapon at (the victim) and motioned for a second black male to intervene,” Beaumont Police Officer Timothy Spikes reported. The second male also had a gun, the witnesses told police, and one of the assailants held the male victim outside the car the couple arrived in, while the other held the female victim at gunpoint inside the auto while retrieving the victims’ money – approximately $2,900 in cash the couple planned on using to purchase the car they were there to retrieve.

When the bandits ran, they left behind toy gun packaging as well as a receipt for the gun’s purchase. Subsequent investigation into the receipt and suspect cell phone use led officers to believe Branch was one of the two robbers.

“Investigators contacted Branch via phone and he refused to come in and speak with police,” Spikes reported. Instead, Spikes said, Branch left the jurisdiction, and when he was reached for a second time was just as defiant. “He indicated no one would be able to pick him out of a photo lineup so there was no reason to talk to police.”

Less than two weeks after the March 1 robbery, however, Branch was in the custody of the police anyway.

March 15, Branch, Brown and Tyson were arrested on charges of car burglary, theft of a firearm and miscellaneous charges associated with a multi-hour crime spree, burglarizing upward of 11 addresses in the hours leading up to police intervention. According to information provided by Sgt. Cody Guedry, there was additional evidence at time that the trio was not through with their overnight crime spree and, had they not been caught when they were, other victims would have been added to the fold.

Due to the fact the thieves operated in collusion with one another, on more occasions than just the March 15 event, investigators allege, all three were also charged with engaging in organized criminal activity Wednesday, April 26.

Branch’s newest charges are added to the laundry list of pending felonies and misdemeanors for which the 19-year-old is currently being held in jail, including other aggravated robberies and theft, drug possession, firearm theft, evading detention and engaging in organized criminal activity. Bonds totaling in excess of $250,000 are added to non-bondable probation violation holds, keeping the felon behind bars indefinitely.

Branch has been on probation roughly one year, sentenced in 2016 to deferred adjudication for aggravated robbery. According to public data, Branch was to serve 10 years of court supervision starting in May 2016 for the April 2015 offense. He was also sentenced to five years probation at the same time for a January 2016 offense of state jail theft allegedly committed while awaiting trial on the aggravated robbery, as well as 10 years probation connected to a guilty plea for engaging in organized criminal activity. Connected cases of forgery, and state jail felony theft of a firearm (times two) were dismissed.