Second man pleads guilty in robbery case

Aaron Branham

WOODSTOCK – Another co-defendant who played a role in a November robbery and abduction faces prison time.

Judge Dennis L. Hupp sentenced Aaron M. Branham in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Wednesday to 10 years in a state penitentiary with all but nine years and three months suspended for committing one count of stealing money or property valued at more than $5 from a person and three years, all time suspended, for grand larceny. Hupp also ordered Branham to serve 12 months of a previously suspended sentence for violating the terms of his probation.

Hupp accepted an agreement reached between Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley and Branham’s lawyer Charles Ramsey that called for the defendant to plead guilty to the two charges. A grand jury originally indicted Branham, 35, of Maurertown, on two counts of abduction and single charges of robbery and grand larceny. The agreement called for the court to amend the robbery charge to larceny from a person.

Hupp accepted the agreement and noted that the sentence falls within the guidelines that recommend Branham serve between nine months and one year and 11 months of active time. Grand larceny and theft from a person carry maximum punishments of up to 20 years in prison.

Authorities accused Adrian P. Brown, Philip L. Runion, Aaron M. Branham and Shea of entering a residence at 113 S. Church St., Woodstock, to remove an occupant from the home as requested by another person inside, according to court documents and information provided by Wiseley. Branham recruited the co-defendants and went to the residence, Wiseley told the judge by way of a proffer of the commonwealth’s evidence.

Specifically, Branham pleaded guilty to stealing an Xbox game system and an opal-jade ring, according to the indictments and information provided by Wiseley. The co-defendants split up once inside the residence and Branham did not participate in the abduction, Wiseley said.

Shea pleaded guilty Friday to committing two counts of abduction and received an active sentence of one year and six months on one charge and four years, all suspended, on the other charge. The court dismissed Shea’s charges of robbery and grand larceny as part of a plea agreement between the commonwealth and his attorney Brad Pollack.

The court continued Runion’s and Brown’s cases to later dates. Brown also stands charged with unrelated drug offenses.