Man convicted in Capitol Hill attack sentenced to more than 24 years


Thomas "T.C." Maslin and wife Abby in late 2012. Maslin suffered brain damage after he was mugged and badly beaten by three men while walking home from a Nationals game. He also has limited use of an arm and a leg on one side. (Courtesy Abby & Thomas Maslin)
July 2, 2013

A 23-year-old Fort Washington man convicted in August’s brutal attack and robbery of a Capitol Hill man was sentenced Tuesday to more than 24 years in prison.

Tommy Branch was convicted of 12 counts in a series of Aug. 18 robberies and attacks, including the beating of Thomas C. Maslin as Maslin was walking through Eastern Market on his way home from a restaurant after a Nationals game.

Maslin, 30, was hit in the head with an aluminum baseball bat and robbed of his keys, iPhone and bank card. He was in a coma for days and required several brain surgeries. The young father lost sight in his left eye and has limited use of his left arm and left leg.

“Obviously, this was an extremely senseless and very tragic evening,” D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Richter said. “Nothing I can do can ease the pain and make things better or right. This is almost doubly tragic because Branch is a capable person. I accept that he didn’t go out with the intention of ruining people’s lives. But that is what happened.”

Branch was also convicted of robbing two other men in Adams Morgan hours after the Maslin attack.

Two other men were also charged in the Aug. 18 attack and robberies. Michael Moore, 19, of Landover pleaded guilty and testified against Branch. The trial of Sunny Kuti, 18, of Southeast Washington is to start next week.

“They were three people walking together to look for potential victims,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Swanton said at Tuesday’s sentencing. “They were acting as predators . . . a conscious decision they made led to foreseeable consequences. There was no act of resistance by Mr. Maslin.”

Maslin and his wife, Abigail, were not in court for the sentencing. Thomas Maslin is currently in a one-month, intensive speech therapy program.

But in a video statement shown at the hearing, Abigail Maslin “humbly asked for justice.”

“The acts of Mr. Branch were senseless and cruel,” she said. “As a result, we are living a life sentence. Each day in this new life is a battle.”

At Branch’s trial in May, Thomas Maslin’s neurosurgeon testified that Maslin will never fully recover from the attack. He and Abigail Maslin have a 2-year-old son, Jack. In her statement, Abigail Maslin said she had no words to explain to her son why his father cannot read a children’s book to him or why he could not walk properly.

Branch’s attorney, Dorsey Jones, said his client has two daughters and described his actions that night as an “aberration.”

“I’m very sorry for the serious injuries Mr. Maslin suffered,” Branch said in court, rubbing tears away. “I ask forgiveness from the Maslin family, especially from his wife and mainly from his son, for their father being disabled. . . . I’m sorry to anyone who was hurt because of this situation.”

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of intern Chandra Levy.
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