Wife of man beaten on Capitol Hill testifies

WASHINGTON – “He was almost unrecognizable,” Abigail Maslin told a jury about her husband, “T.C.”, after he was robbed and brutally beaten with a baseball bat last August.

She was the prosecution’s final witness in the four-day trial of Tommy Branch, the 22-year-old D.C. man accused of beating and robbing Thomas C. Maslin near his Capitol Hill home. Jurors began their deliberations Tuesday evening after closing arguments. Deliberations will resume Wednesday morning.

Branch faces numerous charges, including conspiracy to commit robbery, armed robbery, assault with intent to commit armed robbery, aggravated assault while armed and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence.

The beating left Maslin with a severe brain injury. He was walking home after having drinks and going to a Washington Nationals game with friends when he was attacked.

Maslin’s wife described for jurors a life turned upside down and a once-active 30- year-old husband who can now barely speak.

With a handsome picture of her husband taken in better times projected on a screen for the jury to see, Maslin testified that eight months after the attack, her brain-damaged husband walks with a limp, has limited use of his right arm and has trouble speaking.

“He has a difficult time expressing himself,” she said. “It’s difficult to determine what he understands and what he doesn’t.”

Her husband has undergone six surgeries since the attack.

Maslin said T.C. — who had thrived in his job involving renewable energy — can no longer work. She has taken the year off as a D.C. public school teacher to care for him. The Maslins are parents of a 2-year-old boy named Jack.

Maslin remained composed as she testified about the frightful hours when her husband was missing, how she located him at Washington Hospital Center and his ongoing rehabilitation.

Branch, the defendant, his chin resting in his left hand, gazed intently at Maslin as she testified.

Closing Arguments

Branch allegedly told two accomplices, “We want to make a quick move.” Prosecutors say he meant a robbery.

Branch’s lawyer argues he didn’t do it and charges that his client’s main accuser, Michael Moore, an accomplice who reached a plea deal with prosecutors, lacks credibility.

“You can’t believe a word that Mr. Moore says,” defense attorney Dorsey Jones said in closing arguments.

The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Swanton, countered that Branch was the ringleader who led two other men in a series of armed robberies from Capitol Hill to Adams Morgan that night.

“We know how it happened. It was the bat that was found in his (Branch’s) car,” Swanton told the jury in his final arguments.

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