LIVINGSTON COUNTY – Testimony took an interesting turn on Thursday, day four of the jury trial on kidnapping charges for Charles Braun, when his ex-girlfriend and the alleged victim of a kidnapping admitted that she had stolen $45,000 from him while he had been in prison.
Braun, 67, stands charged with Kidnapping in the Second Degree, a Class B Felony, Criminal Contempt in the First Degree, a Class E Felony, and Menacing in the Second Degree, a Class A Misdemeanor. Given a past conviction for Attempted Murder, Braun is looking at up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
District Attorney Greg McCaffrey called the alleged victim to the stand and she testified that Braun came out from under her porch with a small black handgun and forced her to drive in her car to his apartment in Perry. Police recovered smears of mud on her steering console, a hat that Braun admits was his under her porch, and packaging for a plastic BB gun pistol at Braun’s apartment.
The alleged victim also testified that while Braun was in prison, she had access to his bank accounts and gradually withdrew money from his accounts in $400 and $500 increments almost every day until she had stolen nearly $45,000 from him.
Defense counsel William Kelley pointed out that the alleged victim had been in a relationship with Braun when he went to prison, and continued to write letters to him while he was at the Livingston County Jail, even going so far as to register for visitation with a false name to visit him while the kidnapping case was being processed.
The alleged victim seemed unsure that the whole trial was necessary. She said that she wanted the charges dropped. Under examination by McCaffrey, she said that this was not because the allegations were false but because Braun didn’t deserve to go to prison.
Judge Dennis Cohen charged the jury, explaining the law as it pertains to the case, and the jury began deliberating at 4:05 p.m. They were released at 4:50 p.m., to resume deliberations on Friday.