FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SECOND TEEN PLEADS GUILTY IN DEADLY PARAGOULD HOME INVASION
PARAGOULD, ARK. – September 04, 2013 – Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington announces the guilty plea today of Lavell Branch-Griffin, one of two defendants charged in a set of November 2012 Paragould home invasions, one of which resulted in the death of 92-year-old Clinton Mason.
Branch-Griffin, 19, of Paragould pleaded guilty before Greene County Circuit Judge Randy Philhours to a charge of first degree murder, two counts of aggravated robbery, and two counts of aggravated residential burglary. Philhours sentenced Branch-Griffin to 92 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
Branch-Griffin’s co-defendant, Rashon Webb, also 19, of Jonesboro pled guilty to the same charges on August 26. He was also sentenced to 92 years imprisonment.
“You know it’s such a shame that [Mr. Mason] fought the Nazis, fought the Germans, and helped fight off Hitler to die at the hands of something like this in his own home,” the judge said prior to sentencing, referring to Mason’s World War II military service. “And that doesn’t even touch, or it doesn’t even mention what you and Mr. Webb did to your own families, and to your own lives. What a waste.”
The prosecutor praised the work of law enforcement investigators in making the case against the teenagers.
“The interests of justice were served today in Greene County,” Ellington said of the final plea in the case. “Today’s plea is the fruit of solid police work by lead investigators Paragould Det. Sgt. Rhonda Thomas, Arkansas State Police Sgt. Scott Pillow, and their department’s collaborative efforts.”
In addition to the murder of Mason, the duo assaulted and robbed Mason’s housemate, Karen Alsobrooks during the holdup on Nov. 20. The defendants robbed the home of Brenda Bontempo in Paragould about six hours before the incident at the home of Mason and Alsobrooks.