Grand jury fails to charge Scott County teen with murder

BENTON, MO (KFVS) -  A grand jury on Tuesday declined to return a murder charge against a Scott County girl accused of killing a Sikeston woman at an underage drinking party.

Prosecuting attorney Paul Boyd said his office presented the evidence, but the jury only agreed to charge Brianna Branson, 17, with leaving the scene of an accident and destruction of evidence.  When asked if his office would continue pursuing the murder charge, Boyd would only say the investigation into the matter will continue.

Prosecutors allege Branson hit and killed Kendra Gray, 18, with a pickup truck last month after fighting with Gray at an underage drinking party near a home in the 900 block of Westview Road in Sikeston.

The fight was over a boy, prosecutors said.

Branson had pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder.  Her attorney said Branson didn't mean to actually hit Gray, and that the facts did not support the murder charge.

Copyright 2010 KFVS. All rights reserved.