News4's Jackie Bensen was in court Tuesday when Tommy Branch was sentenced to 24 years in prison in the violent beating of a young D.C. dad.
The man convicted of nearly beating a young father to death during a robbery on Capitol Hill last August will spend the next 24 1/2 years in prison.
On Aug. 18, 2012, T.C. Maslin was walking home from the Tune Inn Bar when he was attacked by Tommy Branch and two other suspects.
Prosecutors say Branch, 22, hit Maslin in the head with an aluminum baseball bat and stole his iPhone and credit card, and one of the other suspects threatened him with a BB gun.
A passerby found Maslin on the porch of a house in the 700 block of North Carolina Avenue about eight hours after the attack.
Maslin and his wife, Abby, were not in court for Tuesday's sentencing, but a recorded statement was played on their behalf. The images provided by Abby Maslin showed her husband's slow and painful recovery from his injuries.
During the trial, the jury saw pictures of Maslin from the hospital and heard from his doctor, who said Maslin’s skull was shattered into multiple pieces. The father of one spent two months in a coma and has undergone six surgeries and extensive rehab.
Abby Maslin testified that her husband walks with a limp, has limited use of his right arm and has trouble communicating.
T.C. will never fully recover, his doctor said.
On Tuesday, they thanked supporters via the Love for the Maslins Facebook page. The couple is currently in Canada, where T.C. is undergoing speech therapy as part of his recovery.
"I think I'm really doing a lot better," he said in a previous interview with NBC4's Doreen Gentzler. "I've got a long ways to go too to be honest."
The Maslins spend hours redeveloping T.C.'s cognitive and motor skills, but what keeps them going is their 2-year-old Jack.
"I'm just focused on doing this...," T.C. continued. "I'm just going to move forward, keep working at it."
His wife added, "All that leaves me to think nothing is impossible here..."
In court Tuesday, Branch apologized for his actions, and asked for forgiveness. But the contrast of the images of Maslin before and after the attack led Judge Robert Richter to say that Branch's actions "showed a coldness of heart that all the remorse in the world cannot erase."
Branch was also found guilty of four crimes that happened after the attack on Maslin.
He is one of three men charged in the series of robberies and assaults.
Michael Moore, 19, pleaded guilty to his role in the crimes and is awaiting trial while 18-year-old Sunny B. Kuti and 25-year-old Darrin Beal maintain their innocence.
U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, Jr. released the following statement following Tuesday's sentencing:
“Throughout this process, our prosecutors have been overwhelmed by the number of citizens who have come forward to show support for T.C. Maslin and his young family. That outpouring of support demonstrates the power of our community to come together and rise above the most brutal acts of violence. I hope that today's sentence will allow Mr. Maslin, his family, and the entire Capitol Hill community -- as well as the other two victims of this defendant's attacks -- to continue the healing process.”
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