Tommy Branch convicted of assault, robbery in T.C. Maslin trial

Maslin was robbed and beaten last Aug. 18 as he walked home near Eastern Market. (Family photo)

The man accused of beating a Capitol Hill man at Eastern Market during a robbery last summer was convicted Wednesday of assault and robbery.

The jury convicted Tommy Branch, 22, in connection with the beating of T.C. Maslin, a young father who was left with severe brain injuries after the Aug. 18 attack.

In all, the jury convicted Branch on 10 of 12 counts related to the Maslin attack and several other incidents.

Branch remained stoic while the verdicts were delivered.

"We are relieved to hear about today's verdict," T.C. Maslin and his wife, Abigail, said in a statement. "Even though this verdict is what we hoped for, we remain extremely saddened by the devastation that was caused and the lives that were shattered as a result of this senseless act."

Patrons at Tune Inn on Capitol Hill were also relieved to hear the verdict. The bar is where Maslin was last seen before he started walking home last Aug.

"It tore our community apart," said Danette Sheldon.

Susan Mathers, who's worked at the bar for more than 20 years, added, "I was relieved. I think that justice should be done. He's deserves to be punished. It was such a horrible thing."

Maslin was struck with a baseball bat and robbed of his credit card and cell phone, authorities said. Sunny Kuti, 17, and Michael Moore, 18 are also accused in the incident.

Moore pleaded guilty in connection with the beatings.

Kuti and another defendant, Darrin Beal, are awaiting trial.

The three suspects are also accused of robbing two other men in a separate neighborhood hours after attacking Maslin, who was assaulted while on his way home from a bar after attending a Washington Nationals game with friends.

During the trial, the prosecution put on an array of witnesses, including victims from the night of muggings and assaults which left Maslin wounded.

Also, the mother of Branch testified during the trial that her son admitted knocking Maslin down.

She also said she found and disposed of an aluminum baseball bat - the same bat Moore testified Branch used to smash Maslin in the head.

Moore said the night of muggings and assaults began at Branch's suggestion.

The most compelling testimony came from Maslin’s wife, who spoke about how her husband now struggles to speak, walk and use his right arm and hand.

The defense was brief and mostly aimed to discredit Moore's testimony, arguing he would say anything to get a reduced sentence.

“Tommy Branch used an aluminum baseball bat to put a young father into a coma,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen. “A young family has been changed forever because this defendant carried out a brutal beating to steal an iPhone and a bank card."

Last Dec., Tune Inn held a fundraiser that generated $40,000 for Maslin's mounting medical expenses. Mathers and Sheldon were there that night and will continued to be there for Maslin.

"We've tried to help them move on in their life financially and physically, but now they can move on emotionally," Sheldon said.