2013-12-05 / Local & State

Branche Pleads, Sentenced

To serve jail time for five criminal cases
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Branche Branche NEWS EDITOR

A McConnellsburg man was sentenced last Tuesday in connection with a variety criminal cases, two of which involved selling prescription pills to a confidential informant with the Pennsylvania State Police.

Twenty-threeyear old Kourtney Lee Branche appeared before Fulton County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Douglas W. Herman on November 26 for formal arraignment on six criminal cases involving drug delivery and possession of a controlled substance, theft by unlawful taking, conspiracy to commit theft and retail theft.

Branche entered guilty pleas in five of the cases, and all remaining charges were dismissed by the commonwealth. Maximum penalty for two counts of delivery of a controlled substance, two counts of retail theft and one count of theft is 19 years incarceration and a $50,000 fine.

Under oath Branche admitted to stealing cigarettes and a sandwich cookie from the Sheetz convenience store earlier this year as well as conspiring with others to steal money from the cash register at the McConnellsburg Citgo. Branche added his share for the theft at Citgo was $200.

Branche, of 295 Heritage Drive, McConnellsburg, went on to tell Judge Herman that on April 19 he sold his prescribed Suboxone to a confidential informant. An affidavit filed in the case through Magisterial District Judge Wendy Mellott indicates the delivery occurred outside a residence along Route 16. The informant reportedly received six Suboxone strips in exchange for $120 after he picked up Branche at Johnnie’s Motel, drove him to the residence to secure the drugs and dropped him back off at the local motel.

Branche also admitting to selling Suboxone to a confidential informant on June 26. The incident, according to an affidavit of probable cause, states the informant met Branche in the front parking lot of McDonald’s restaurant. Five strips were reportedly purchased in exchange for $90 in state police confidential funds.

Branche will pay restitution to the Pennsylvania State Police for drug buy money in both cases as well as a third case where the charges were dismissed. Restitution in that particular case has been set at $70.

After pleas were entered in the five cases, Herman ordered Branche to complete a minimum jail sentenced of 36 months. He is also eligible to participate in the RRRI program, and credit since October 16 was granted in the Citgo theft.

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