Witness returning from Poland leads to 30-year sentence in 2015 Brooklyn murder case
Second time was a charm for prosecutors, who were able to bring in a witness from Poland in order to convict a Brooklynite of a 2015 murder that was already overturned once following a 2017 conviction.
A 55-year-old man from East New York was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison in the Kings County Supreme Court on Thursday after a re-trial that was only possible because the district attorney was able to bring in a witness from Poland.
Keith Brannon was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison by Justice John Hecht on Thursday. The sentencing comes after Brannon’s conviction on charges of second-degree murder, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and first-degree attempted robbery following a jury trial concluded on Sept. 14.
The case dates back to a fatal incident on Aug. 8, 2015. Brannon was found guilty of the cold-blooded murder of Christopher Tennison, 32, outside a Brownsville homeless shelter on Sackman Street. The murder, stemming from a dispute over money, was evident in text messages exchanged between Brannon and Tennison before the tragic event unfolded.
Brannon’s conviction in 2017 was initially overturned on appeal due to a judicial error. However, meticulous efforts by investigators from the District Attorney’s Office ensured a retrial. In an impressive display of international cooperation, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Detective Investigators from the District Attorney’s Office located a key witness in Poland.
The witness, a former shelter resident who had discovered the murder weapon — a gun found under Brannon’s bed at a Bronx shelter — was instrumental in the case. With assistance from HSI, emergency documentation was secured, enabling the witness’s return to the U.S. to testify.
“This defendant senselessly took the life of another man and, with today’s sentence, has been held responsible for this inexcusable crime,” Gonzalez said. “I am grateful to the dedicated prosecutors in my office, and to Homeland Security that assisted in securing a key witness, for ensuring that justice was done in this case.”
Ivan J. Arvelo, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations, New York, said, “HSI New York’s global reach and commitment to rectifying injustices was instrumental in securing Brannon’s conviction for his heinous crimes. This sentencing is a testament to the cooperation between the HSI New York Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and showcases their shared pursuit of justice.”
Forensic evidence, including the defendant’s DNA on the gun and ballistic tests, confirmed its use in the homicide, substantiating the eyewitness accounts. The exhaustive investigation and retrial were marked by the commendable efforts of Senior Assistant District Attorney Matthew Perry and Senior Assistant District Attorney Andrew Gruna, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Leila Rosini, Homicide Chief.
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