Tahlequah Daily Press

May 7, 2013

Prosecutors charge inmate with assault on jailers

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Prosecutors have filed charges against a Cherokee County Detention Center inmate who allegedly assaulted two jailers last month.

Ronald Branson Jr., 30, is facing two counts of battery/assault and battery upon a police officer, and one count of prisoner placing body fluid on a government employee.

Branson is accused of biting the hands of CCDC officers Carl Hawk and James Keener on April 18, while also trying to grab the Hawk’s genitals.

Prosecutors allege Branson also tried to spit saliva on Keener.

Employees at CCDC would not provide a report of the incident to the Daily Press on Monday, and said the report had been turned over to the District Attorney’s Office.

The Press also requested a copy of the jail’s report from the DA’s office Monday, but had not received the information by press time.

According to the information filed in the charges, battery/assault and battery on a police officer is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $500. The charge resulting from a prisoner’s placing body fluid on a government employee is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

Branson was jailed at CCDC last year for failing to register as a sex offender. He was later evaluated and determined competent to stand trial on the 2012 charge. He is set for a preliminary hearing Monday, May 13.

Branson was found to be living in Cherokee County last year when authorities from the Eufaula area told investigators in Tahlequah that Branson had failed to register. Court records show he was arrested in 2007 for making lewd or indecent proposals to a child under age 16.

When he was captured in Tahlequah last year, Branson was living out of a motor home, and told authorities he had been here for about a month without notifying police.