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Killer given 10 years in homicide

By Allen Edmonds

HARRISONVILLE – A 38-year-old man who was arrested in 2021 upon his release from a Terre Haute, Ind., federal prison by dogged Belton investigators who spent four years investigating the home invasion robbery and shooting that claimed the life of 30-year-old Gabriel Brito-Ramirez and injured a male relative in the former Oak Hill Mobile Home Community in the 1500 block of North Scott, was sentenced Monday to two concurrent 10-year prison terms after pleading guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree assault.

Charles Edward Branson

Charles Edward Branson admitted to the 2017 crime before Judge Stacey Lett in Cass County Circuit Court.


Branson was being released on parole from an 8-year prison sentence for robbery in connection with an incident that occurred a few months after the homicide when Belton detectives interrupted the process after receiving DNA and other evidence confirming his connection to the 2017 crime in Belton.


Charges of second-degree murder, attempted robbery, two counts of armed criminal action, and unlawful possession of a firearm were initially filed in Cass County Circuit Court, and Branson, whom court records listed as being a Harrisonville resident, was ordered held without bond.


The second victim, 33-year-old male relative of the victim, was also shot in the incident, but has recovered from his injuries.


Belton Police recovered evidence from the scene, including a stocking hat worn by the suspect, from which 19 hairs were examined, and eventually matched to Branson.


Detectives the following year were able to examine records from Branson’s phone following his arrest in Franklin County, Mo., which placed him near the crime scene at the time of the crime.


He was later interviewed in Crawford County, Mo., while in custody.


He requested an attorney, but officers were able to recover his DNA after obtaining a warrant. He was held in the Cass County jail for the past three years and was nearing a trial date when the plea agreement was struck.


Lett ordered 824 days of credit applied against his sentence for the time he had been in custody since his arrest, leaving less than 8 years on the prison sentence he received Monday.

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