Mother Accused of Murder

POSTED: Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 2:56pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 10:59pm

A judge set bond at $1 million for a Streamwood, Illinois woman accused of using her car to run down and kill an Elgin, Illinois who had allegedly gotten into a fight with the woman's son over a girl the previous night. Timera D. Branch, 33, of Streamwood has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death Sunday of John W. Keyes of Elgin.

Keyes was struck and killed by a car about 4 p.m. in Elgin police said. Keyes' family members said after the bond hearing that Keyes had been at a party in Elgin Saturday night, dancing with the girlfriend of Branch's 16-year-old son.

The son shoved Keyes, who responded by punching the boy in the eye, the family members said. The following afternoon, they said, Branch tracked Keyes to a residence in Elgin and then pinned him to a building with her car. He was pronounced dead a short time later at an area hospital. Prosecutors and police declined to comment on the circumstances that led to the death.

"This was just senseless," said Keyes' sister, LaTasha Keyes. More than 20 family members attended the hearing. They said Keyes did not know Branch's son.

Kane County Judge Clint Hull told Branch she could face a minimum 20-year sentence on the murder charge. Assistant State's Atty. Thomas St. Jules said Branch did not have a criminal history, but had several citations for driving on a suspended license. Her next court date is Nov. 19. Because the court was closed to the public because of the Veteran's Day holiday, Keyes' mother watched the proceedings intently from the closed circuit monitor in the county jail lobby. A few minutes earlier, Dionne Harris had said she wanted to see Branch's face.

"He was my only son," Harris said after the hearing. "He wasn't a bad kid - he wasn't any trouble. It was just a little fight."