Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fugitive Running from 25 Year Sentence

A 36-year-old Stigler man, who told authorities he had been living on acorns and turtles after escaping from the Haskell County Jail on April 22, was captured by Sallisaw police and Sequoyah County deputies at about 5 a.m. Monday. Edward Branch Jr. was charged April 28 in Haskell County District Court with escaping from the Department of Corrections, and a warrant for his arrest was issued the same day. Haskell County authorities said Tuesday morning that Branch had just been sentenced to 25 years, with five years suspended, for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree burglary, and robbery by force and fear with a dangerous weapon. He was awaiting transfer to the State Department of Corrections when he escaped. Haskell County Sheriff Brian Hale was unavailable for comment on the details of the escape. It wasn’t Branch’s first escape. According to court records, Branch was charged in February with escaping from the same jail, but was found only three hours later in an abandoned home. The records also reveal Branch was charged with escape from a penal institution in Craig County in 2006. An arrest warrant on that charge was filed in Craig County District Court on Jan. 17 of this year. Authorities had been searching for Branch in the Kerr Lake area, and he was captured while walking along Interstate 40. Court records indicate that Branch has an extensive criminal history. Stay tuned to KXMX for the latest news, or visit www.kxmx.com. By Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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