published Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Witnesses point to suspect with prior homicide charge

Witnesses in East Lake Courts housing projects told Chattanooga police they watched 24-year-old Lemario Rashard Branham -- blood staining his face -- running after a single gunshot rang out.

Branham, who was previously charged in connection with another homicide in 2007, was arrested Wednesday on a new homicide charge. He's accused of shooting a 21-year-old mother in the face Saturday while standing near the back porch of her home at 2213 E. 25th St. Court.

Kenyeta Tramble, who had a 17-month-old old son, was pronounced dead at Erlanger hospital that night. Witnesses told police they watched two men get into an argument with someone in the doorway of her residence before the shooting, according to an affidavit.

When questioned by police, Branham said he was with his girlfriend the night of the shooting. When police interviewed Branham's girlfriend, she gave conflicting statements about his location that night.

In 2007, Branham was arrested along with Eric Carter and Jeremy McMillon after 52-year-old Larry Parks was shot to death while standing in the street at 1100 Arcadia Ave. Carter and McMillon were both found guilty of murder.

Branham's charge of first-degree murder was lowered to voluntary manslaughter. He received a six-year sentence in March 2009 and was released early from prison.

Branham has another case pending in court for aggravated assault after he reportedly threatened a woman and her brother with what they described as an AK-47 rifle last month, according to an affidavit. The woman told police the argument was over "personal business."

As of Wednesday evening, Branham remained at the Hamilton County Jail on a $350,000 bond. His next court date is set for Oct. 1 before Hamilton County Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck.

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