The attorney for a man accused of firing on police and then running from the scene says a judge's decision to set bond at $3 million is "absurd" and "flagrantly excessive." Gerry Branner is charged with murder even though he wasn't the one who fired the shot that killed his accomplice. Local 12 News Reporter Tiffany Wilson spoke to this attorney about this unique case.
On November 21st-the day before Thanksgiving-undercover officer Orlando Smith tried to bust three men for selling drugs. When Dontez ONeal, Robert Matthews and Gerry Branner realized police were on their trail, chaos broke out.
Police say O'Neal and Branner shot at Officer Smith --- who then returned fire. O'Neal died, Matthews was injured and Branner took off running.
After more than a week on the run, Branner appeared in court twice on Friday morning for the new charges -- including murder, felonious assault and carrying a concealed weapon-and a variety of old charges. Branner faces murder charges even though he did not shoot O'Neal. That's because in Ohio --- if you commit a felony and someone dies, you can be charged with their murder. Branner's attorney Mark Eppley and Eric Deters feel he's wrongly accused. "The police should be the ones penalized for the result of the accident, the incident as a result of that a lawsuit will be filed and a press conference will be announced."
Branner's accomplice -- Bobby Matthews -- is already in jail. He faces multiple drug, weapons and an involuntary manslaughter charge. Matthew's bond is $100,000. Branner's bond is more than $3 Million. Eppley says, "I believe a three million dollar bond is absurd. There's absolutely no evidence to suggest Mr. Branner is responsible for the death of the deceased and as a result, the bond is absolutely and flagrantly excessive and should be dropped."
Branner faces more serious charges and a higher bond because police say he fired at shot at Officer Smith while Matthews did not.
Branner was spotted in Spring Grove Village on Wednesday and then arrested in Colerain Township yesterday.