Brooklyn Man Sentenced to Up to 32 Years in Prison for Brutal Attack of Pregnant Ex-Girlfriend, Causing Death of Unborn Child

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Brooklyn Man Sentenced to Up to 32 Years in Prison for Brutal Attack of Pregnant Ex-Girlfriend, Causing Death of Unborn Child

Defendant Received Maximum Term Allowed by Law

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Crown Heights man has been sentenced to up to 32 years in prison for brutally attacking his ex-girlfriend, who was almost seven months pregnant, resulting in the death of her unborn child.

District Attorney Thompson said, “Torey Branch deserves to spend every day of the next 27 years locked away in a prison cell for his cowardly, brutal and simply inhumane attack on a pregnant woman that caused the victim to suffer horrific injuries, left her unconscious and needing two blood transfusions—all because he did not want her to have their baby.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Torey Branch, 35, of 1414 Bergen Street, Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The defendant was today sentenced by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Alexander B. Jeong to a determinate sentence of 25 years in prison on the charge of first-degree burglary and an indeterminate sentence of 2 1/3-7 years in prison on the charge of first-degree abortion; he ordered the sentences to run consecutively. The defendant was also sentenced to one year in prison on the charge of third-degree assault to run concurrent.  The defendant was found guilty of first-degree abortion, first-degree burglary and third-degree assault following a jury trial last month.

According to trial testimony, the defendant and victim had a nine-year relationship during which time the victim became pregnant. The defendant expressed that he did not want a child and became angry at the victim’s decision to follow through with the pregnancy.

On March 28, 2014, the victim and defendant agreed to meet at the victim’s Brooklyn residence. At approximately 1:15 p.m., as the victim entered into her apartment building, surveillance video shows she was followed inside by two masked men, one of whom has not been apprehended.  Once inside, the two masked men choked and punched the victim about the head and body and then repeatedly hit the victim’s pregnant stomach, eventually knocking the victim unconscious.

According to trial testimony, the victim identified one of the masked men as the defendant when she heard him say “move, move” during the attack and recognized his voice. The victim was hit approximately 22 times and suffered severe injuries including an orbital fracture. Her unborn child died in utero a few hours after the attack.

A search of the defendant’s cell phone, according to testimony, revealed approximately 51 incriminating online searches including “can being hit in the stomach cause a miscarriage” and “what happens if you punch a pregnant woman in the stomach.” The searches occurred between January 19, 2014 and March 9, 2014 — approximately three weeks prior to the attack.

The case was investigated by Detective Kenneth Anderson of the New York City Police Department’s 75th Precinct.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Joanna Lettieri, of the District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Edward Purce, Deputy Bureau Chief and under the overall supervision of Michelle Kaminsky, Bureau Chief.