LAWRENCEBURG — A judge rejected a request Monday to reduce the $1 million bond on a man charged with murder in the March shooting death of his wife.
Lawyers for Timothy Branson, 48, had sought a $500,000 bond or 10 percent of that amount, but Anderson Circuit Judge Charles Hickman ruled that the $1 million bond would remain in effect.
Branson is accused of shooting his wife, Modena S. Sutton Branson, 50, on March 5 at a home on Ballard Road. He also was indicted on two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for allegedly endangering the lives of Modena Branson's daughter and grandson.
Timothy Branson was treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound after the shooting, and since his release from a Lexington hospital, he has been held at Kentucky State Reformatory in La Grange. His attorneys said they hope to have him moved soon to the Shelby County jail.
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During the Monday hearing, defense attorney Ted Shouse called two witnesses, who said they would be willing to risk their savings and possible jail time to see that Branson was released with a lower bond.
Jamie Marlowe, a former Lexington resident who now lives in Anniston, Ala., described herself as a "good friend" of Branson for more than 20 years. Acting with Branson's power of attorney, Marlowe said, she sold his house in Lexington, and the transaction left about $50,000 after debts and other expenses were paid.
Marlowe said she had "absolutely no fear at all" that she would have to forfeit $450,000 if Branson failed to make one court appearance in relation to the criminal case.
"Tim has always been like a brother to me," Marlowe said.
The other witness, Mark May of Lexington, said that he has known Branson since 2004 and that he would be willing to have Branson stay with him. May said he would be willing to inform police and court officials if Branson did not comply with non-financial conditions of release.
Shouse argued that Branson has no other criminal history and that a lower bond would be "commensurate with the offense."
But Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney David Nutgrass argued that "we simply cannot rely with absolute certainty ... that he's going to abide by conditions of his bond."
In the end, the judge agreed, saying a lower bond "is not acceptable to this court." Hickman said Marlowe was not an "approved surety" because she is an out-of-state resident.
Relatives of Modena Branson were relieved by the judge's decision.
"It's the right thing to do," said Chris Sayre of Lawrenceburg, a sister of Modena Branson.
Timothy Branson is scheduled to go to trial in February.