A 35-year-old Carson City man who has spent the last 13 years in prison for armed robbery was granted probation Monday, the first ever handed out by District Judge Michael Griffin for that crime.
Victor Branson, 35, received a suspended sentence of nine years in Nevada state prison. Griffin then granted Branson a probation period of five years, giving him his first real freedom in 13 years.
Branson was convicted in 1987 of several armed robberies in Washoe County and Oregon. He was sentenced to prison, served his time in Oregon, and returned to Carson City this spring to await further sentencing for charges that were not pursued at the time of the other crimes in 1987.
For those crimes, Carson City District Attorney Anne Langer had asked for a consecutive sentence of an additional 15 years.
"When you have a gun stuck in your face, you never forget it," said Langer, speaking of the armed robbery Branson committed at the Picnic House and Deli, which subsequently went out of business. Langer also noted that Branson was a self-professed drug user who had committed numerous armed robberies.
However, defense attorney Bruce Lindsay said his client was a cooperative witness who had apologized and was rebuilding his life.
"I just can't understand why the District Attorney's Office had no feeling for the guy at all, when he'd already done 13 years," said Lindsay.
Branson, released on his own recognizance since June, has been employed at a lumber company in Oregon, according to Lindsay.