FAYETTE COUNTY, IL — A Fayette County child sex crime case is scheduled for a final pre-trial hearing today (Tuesday) leading up to a scheduled jury trial in two weeks. A December 2020 continuance in the case resulted in an objection on record from the defense attorneys for 40-year-old Robert Branham.
Branham was arrested in August 2020 on five Class 1 felony counts of criminal sexual assault – one charge is by force and the other four of family a family member under the age of 18. All five counts against Branham are punishable by four to 15 years in prison. A jury trial in the case is currently set for February 16.
Judge Michael McHaney denied the request to lower the defendant’s $100,000 bail after the prosecution objected to the defendant being released on his own recognizance. The judge then advised that the delay attributed to the pandemic runs the risk of a speedy trial violation to be raised on appeal if a jury trial results in a conviction. The case was subsequently delayed in January, once again due to the pandemic and again despite the objection of the defense. State prosecutors have since issued numerous subpoenas in the case.
Branham filed a demand for a speedy trial just days after his August 3, 2020 arrest.