Parents of slain police informant suing officer drug unit


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The parents of a woman killed in retaliation for working as a Charleston police informant are suing the police drug unit that recruited her.

Bruce and Cathy Basham filed the lawsuit in Kanawha County Circuit Court this week on behalf of the estate of Branda Basham, 22, who was shot to death in July 2014, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported (http://bit.ly/29I4ESe).

Marlon Dewayne Dixon was sentenced to life behind bars after pleading guilty to killing Branda Basham when he found out she was working as a police informant.

Dixon lured Branda Mae Delight Basham to a secluded area in Charleston and shot her repeatedly with a pistol on July 12, 2014, authorities said. Dixon sold drugs to her several times.

The lawsuit accuses officers with the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network, a multi-agency taskforce made up of police officers from departments in Kanawha and Putnam counties, of fueling their daughter’s drug addiction by offering her a paid job interacting with drug dealers.

According to the lawsuit, Branda Basham had been taken into police custody several times between January 2014 and her death for petty crimes to support her drug habit. She was recruited to become an undercover informant in October 2013.

“Instead of arresting and referring Branda Basham to prosecutors so as to divert her into a drug court or pre-trial intervention program with the purpose of intervention, the Defendants turned a blind eye to her drug use and encouraged her to stay on the streets knowing she would continue to use and remain addicted to drugs,” the lawsuit states.

Charleston Lt. Eric Johnson, who leads the Metro Drug Unit, couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday by the newspaper.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.

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