Garrett man accused of killing father claims insanity

Branston Secrest accused of killing Keith Secrest

AUBURN, Ind. (WANE) — The Garrett man who told police he shot his father to death in early December over a stolen dirtbike is seeking an insanity defense.

Branston S. Secrest, 20, is charged with murder in the Dec. 6, 2016, shooting death of 45-year-old Keith A. Secrest inside his East Third Avenue home in Garrett.

Earlier this month, Secrest’s attorney filed a motion and notice of insanity defenses, court records show. Last week, a DeKalb Superior Court judge appointed two physicians to evaluate Secrest and report back to the court.

Mug shot photo of Branston Secrest provided by the Indiana State Police
Mug shot photo of Branston Secrest provided by the Indiana State Police

According to a probable cause affidavit released Thursday, Branston’s mother told police she had been sleeping with her husband, Keith, in their bedroom and left the home around 1:40 p.m. She returned twenty minutes later at 2 p.m. and told police she smelled gunpowder. Branston told her not to go into the bedroom and to call 911.

Branston then left the home in his father’s car, and his mother went to the bedroom where she found her husband lying in the bed with a large amount of blood and called 911, court docs said.

Around 5:30 p.m., police in Fort Wayne pulled over Branston, at Goshen and Harris roads. Branston led them on a nine-minute long vehicle and foot chase before officers were able to arrest him.

Branston was taken to the Fort Wayne Police Department, where he claimed that after his father accused him of stealing the dirtbike, his father tried to attack and choke him. Police found no evidence of choking or injury on Branston’s neck. Branston then told police he shot his father 13 times, court docs said.

During a search of the vehicle, Indiana State Police Crime Scene Unit recovered a Ruger 9MM semi-automatic handgun along with shell casings and a note that read “Don’t go in there Mom, call 9-1-1,” court docs said.

Branston Secrest is being held in the DeKalb County Jail without bond.

Secrest’s next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 6.