Lethal tampering


A Charleston, West Virginia man will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to the unusual charge of witness tampering by killing. Acting United States Attorney Carol Casto said Marlon Dewayne Dixon, 39, murdered a witness in a drug case.

Caston said at approximately 3:00 a.m., on July 12, 2014, Dixon lured 22-year-old Branda Mae Delight Basham, the murder victim, to a secluded section of railroad track in Charleston near the 700 block of Breece Street. At gunpoint, Dixon forced Basham to admit working with police to make undercover purchases of heroin from him. He then repeatedly shot Basham with a 9-millimeter pistol, killing her.

Dixon reportedly went to a nearby residence on Madison Street where he cleaned himself and disposed of his clothing. The next day, police interviewed a local woman who identified the Madison Street residence where she had seen Dixon shortly before the time of the murder.

Detectives from the Charleston Police Department executed a search warrant at the Madison Street residence. Police seized video from a surveillance camera that recorded Dixon wiping down the front door of the residence and carrying away several bags. Detectives also seized a pair of Dixon’s shoes found at the residence. Casto said Basham’s DNA was recovered from bloodstains on the shoes.

On July 17, 2014, Dixon surrendered to Charleston Police. He waived his Miranda rights and confessed to killing Basham. He admitted that he intended to retaliate against Basham for cooperating with law enforcement and to prevent her from testifying against him.

At the time of the murder, Dixon had been previously convicted of several felony offenses. These include federal drug trafficking convictions in 1999 and 2006, and a Kanawha County conviction of malicious wounding in 2007.

“Branda Basham’s murder is a horrible tragedy and a stark reminder of the enormous cost of drug crime. I want the Basham family to know that the prosecutors and law enforcement who took part in this investigation join me in sending our deepest condolences,” Casto said “Heroin and opioid trafficking has ravaged our community, which is why aggressively prosecuting violent drug dealers like Marlon Dixon, along with supporting treatment options for recovering addicts, remains a top priority for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners. It is also important to note the courage of citizens who came forward to provide crucial information that led to Dixon’s arrest and prosecution. We must all continue working together if we want to effectively fight the drug epidemic.”

By Frank Lewis

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Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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