3 men accept plea deals for their roles in death of Round Rock man

Three men accepted plea deals in Travis County Court Thursday for their roles in the death of a Round Rock father. 

On June 24, 2020, Christopher Branham was beaten unconscious and robbed in a mob-style attack at a Round Rock motel. 

"Just knowing that you did something so evil while he couldn't even fend for himself shows how much of a coward you are and the person you are. That image will forever play in my mind," said Christopher Branham’s sister, Monica Jackson. 

The attack was recorded and shared on Snapchat. 

"We heard he was pleading for his life. That he was pleading to see his babies again. He was pleading to go to the hospital," said Christopher Branham’s mother, Conny Branham. 

Two of the men involved, Kyle Cleveland and Anthony Davis, pretended to drive Christopher Branham to the hospital. Instead, they took him to a cornfield near Manor where he was shot twice in the back of the head. 

"Like an execution," said Conny Branham.  

She said detectives immediately honed in on those sentenced Thursday, but "they just didn't know where [Cleveland and Davis] left [Christopher Branham’s body]."

Christopher Branham’s body was not discovered for another 37 days. 


"He had been in the Texas heat," said Conny Branham. "We never really got to have a proper goodbye. We had to stuff sets of dryer sheets inside our face masks and double up on the masks. We had to stand six feet away from Christopher's coffin due to the smell." 

Cleveland was sentenced to 35 years in prison for first-degree murder. 

"Mr. Cleveland is the [defendant] that we determined most likely fired the fatal rounds into Christopher that caused his death," explained Assistant Travis County Criminal District Attorney Victor Erbring. 

Davis was sentenced to 14 years in prison for first-degree murder. He was initially charged with capital murder. The Travis County District Attorney’s Office downgraded the charge after determining Cleveland was culpable and after Davis accepted a plea deal requiring him to cooperate with investigators and testify against others involved.

Jamil Watford also offered information in exchange for a plea deal. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison for robbery. 

The family said the deals are not what they wanted. They are upset the district attorney’s office proceeded, despite their protest. 

"We all got a life sentence, you got off," said Christopher’s father, Jim Branham.

District Attorney José Garza said the deals were necessary. The three men waived their right to appeal. 

"I understand that this process is deeply frustrating. And if it is -- it is my job sometimes to take that frustration. And that's completely okay. I think we have reached the right outcome in this case. And my heart just breaks for that family," DA Garza said.

There were initially five defendants in the case. The district attorney’s office dismissed charges against one man involved. A teenage girl involved was hit by a car and killed after escaping from "The Refuge for DMST," a then state-licensed facility for sex trafficking survivors. She used a staff member's phone to orchestrate her escape. 

A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office said "it is believed" that "drugs were being sold" in the motel room where the initial attack on Christopher Branham occurred. The assailants thought he was an informant. 

"You thought that Christopher was a snitch for law enforcement. He wasn't," Conny Branham said. "You decided to cooperate and get these lenient sentences. Who is the real snitch now?