CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn — A Brooklyn man has been found guilty of brutally attacking his pregnant ex-girlfriend that resulted in death of her unborn baby, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced Tuesday.
Torey Branch, 35, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, was found guilty after investigators discovered that he researched online whether punching a pregnant woman in the stomach can cause a miscarriage.
According to trial testimony, Branch and woman were together nine years when she became pregnant. Branch said he did not want the baby and became angry that his girlfriend decided to follow through with the pregnancy.
On March 28, 2014, as the woman walked into her apartment building, surveillance video shows she was followed inside by two masked men, one of whom has still not been apprehended. The men choked and punched the woman in her head and pregnant stomach, eventually knocking her unconscious.
According to trial testimony, the victim identified one of the masked men as Branch when she heard him say “move, move” during the attack and recognized his voice. The woman was hit approximately 22 times and suffered severe injuries including an orbital fracture. Her unborn child died in utero a few hours after the attack.
A search of the defendant’s cell phone, according to testimony, revealed approximately 51 incriminating online searches including “can being hit in the stomach cause a miscarriage” and “what happens if you punch a pregnant woman in the stomach.” The searches were between January 19, 2014 and March 9, 2014 — about three weeks prior to the attack.
Branch has been charged with first-degree abortion, first-degree burglary and third-degree assault and faces up to 33 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 1, 2016.