A grand jury indicted Joseph William Branham on Monday for allegedly murdering his father in early August.
Branham, 26, was charged with unlawfully killing his father, Joseph Craig Branham, 53. The murder took place between Aug. 4 and 6 at the home they shared at 2923 NE 9th St. in northeast Gainesville.
The grand jury also charged Branham with two counts of tampering with evidence.
The jury, consisting of Alachua County residents, issued the indictment to the 8th Judicial Circuit of Florida Judge Meshon Rawls.
The trial date has not been set, but Darry Lloyd, the deputy chief investigator for the 8th District State Attorney’s office, said gathering evidence and lining up expert testimony is not a fast process.
“That takes quite a bit of time with a first-degree murder case,” Lloyd said in a phone interview.
Lloyd said the COVID-19 pandemic has put the court system behind, so it’s hard to predict when the case might go to trial.
“We’re doing murder cases from 2019,” he said. “We’re not the fastest, but we want to make sure we get it right.”
Gainesville police were initially alerted to the incident on Aug. 10 after a family member who had not heard from the victim called authorities. Officers arrived at the home where both Branham and his father lived and began investigating.
The officers learned that the son and father had gotten into a fight and a neighbor witnessed Branham coming out of the woods near the home on the morning of Aug. 6. Officers searched the woods and found items belonging to both the father and son.
The Gainesville Police Department (GPD) used a K-9 tracking team and located the body of the father in a small body of water at the end of the trail.
Branham has been in the Alachua County Jail since his arrest on Aug. 12 and is being held without bail.