Brian Douglas Pierce, 36 of Indian Head, Md. (Booking photo via CCSO)
LA PLATA, Md. (November 29, 2018, 2018)—Tony Covington, State's Attorney for Charles County, announced that on Thursday, November 29, 2018, Charles County Circuit Court Judge William R. Greer, Jr. sentenced Brian Douglas Pierce, 36 of Indian Head, to 65 years in prison for the Second-Degree Murder of Robert Branson, First-Degree Assault of Karwin Carroll, Possession of a Shotgun with Disqualifying Conviction, and related charges.
On September 4, 2017, officers responded to the 6000 block of Port Tobacco Road in Indian Head for the report of a shooting. When officers arrived, they located Branson and Carroll in the backyard of a residence approximately 800 feet from the scene of the shooting. Both men were suffering from gunshot wounds. Branson suffered gunshot wounds to his arm and lung, which proved fatal; however, before succumbing to his injuries, he identified Pierce as the shooter. Carroll, who was shot in the back, fortunately survived his injuries after being flown to a hospital in serious condition.
An investigation revealed that prior to the shooting, Pierce and Branson were engaged in a dispute regarding a drug debt. Following the dispute, Pierce went to his father's residence located near his home on Port Tobacco Road to retrieve a firearm. His brother and father, who were present at the property, refused to give him a gun. Pierce returned to his own residence and retrieved a shotgun located within the house. He then began looking for Branson and Carroll, who were standing outside of the residence. Pierce told the men to leave and Carroll laughed. Pierce then fired the shotgun twice striking each victim once. Branson and Carroll ran for their lives.
At that point, Pierce got into his vehicle to go after Branson, but was unable to locate him. He then fled to Friendship Park where he abandoned his vehicle. With the assistance of Maryland State Police, Virginia State Police, and other agencies, Charles County Sheriff's Officers canvassed the area where his vehicle was located but did not locate Pierce.
Pierce turned himself in to the Charles County Sheriff's Office on September 5, 2017.
During sentencing, Assistant State's Attorney Jonathan Beattie asked the judge to sentence the defendant above the guidelines of 25-50 years, "The State's ultimate recommendation would be to incapacitate Mr. Pierce for as long as Your Honor can. That is the appropriate and only just sentence in this case. There is more to Mr. Pierce's record that puts him at risk to the community." He furthered, "This is more than just a murder. It [was] broad daylight. It [was] a holiday. People [were] home. It ripples out beyond the decision that one man made; it affects people who had nothing to do with this. –The crime should have never happened because Mr. Pierce never should have had the tools to carry this out. When you make the choice to take a human life without justification, you have forfeited, in the State's estimation, the right to live freely in this community."
Count 1—Second Degree Murder of Robert Branson: 30 Years
Count 2—Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Crime of Violence: 10 Years, Consecutive to Count 1
Count 8—First-Degree Assault of Karwin Carroll: 20 years, Consecutive to Count 1 and Count 2
Count 9—Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Crime of Violence: 5 Years, Consecutive to Count 1, Count 2, and Count 8
Count 14—Possession of Cocaine: 18 months, concurrent to Count 1
Count 18—Possession of Shotgun with Disqualifying Conviction: 15 years, concurrent with Count 1 and Count 14
Count 19—Possession of Shotgun with Disqualifying Conviction: 15 years, concurrent with Count 1, Count 14, and Count 18
Count 20—Possession of Ammunition with Disqualifying Conviction: 1 year, concurrent with Count 1, Count 14, Count 18, and Count 19