LIVINGSTON COUNTY – The jury returned a guilty verdict on all counts against the Perry man who was arrested for kidnapping his ex girlfriend in Retsof and forcing her to drive to his apartment in Perry.
The jury found Charles Braun, 67, guilty of 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.
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“This was one of the toughest cases I’ve ever tried, I had an uncooperative witness, ” said Livingston County District Attorney Greg McCafferey. “[Braun] is a nasty, violent guy, and frankly I would fear for the community if he was out. This victory represents everything that my office stands for, doing justice, pursuing justice even when the victim is not the most likeable.”
McCaffrey added that crimes of this degree of violence of depravity are rare in Livingston County.
“B violent felonies are not common in Livingston County, that’s why we live here,” said McCaffrey. “These are basically one short step down down from murder. A gunpoint kidnapping is
McCaffrey called the 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 jury was not to consider that Braun is facing felony Rape in the First Degree charges in Wyoming County for allegedly raping the victim at the apartment in Perry.
The 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 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 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.
“It would have been easy for us to say, ‘she wants the charges dropped, if she doesn’t care why should I?'”, said McCaffrey. “But still, I would fear for the community if he was out.”
Braun is being held at the Livingston County Jail without bail awaiting sentencing by Judge Dennis Cohen on January 28.