XENIA — A Bellbrook man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday for two counts of rape.
According to a bill of information filed in November 2015 in Greene County Common Pleas Court against Brandon Durham, 24, of Bellbrook, in August 2011 Durham engaged in sexual conduct with the victim and “purposely compelled the victim to submit by force or threat of force.” According to Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Stephen Haller, the victim in the case was a child.
Durham faced a possible life sentence for two charges originally filed against him in April 2015 alleging the rape of a child less than 13 years old. As part of plea negotiations, those charges were dismissed in November 2015 for two rape charges without age specifications. Both sides in the case stipulated to a 15-year prison sentence, which Judge Michael Buckwalter accepted and imposed Thursday.
During his sentencing hearing Durham told the court that he was sincerely apologetic for his behavior.
“This past year has been a very serious wake-up call,” he said. “I come here remorseful. I’m deeply regretful for what I’ve done.”
Three of Durham’s family members also addressed Judge Buckwalter during the sentencing hearing, on Brandon’s behalf.
“Sir, my grandson is not going to get better by you sending him to prison,” said Brandon’s grandmother, Hazel Durham. “The only way he’s going to get better is going to have to come from him inside. From listening to him today, I know that it’s going to come from him.”
Hazel, a former officer in the Dayton Correctional Institution, added, “If you have any mercy, if there is anything you can do, I’m pleading for my grandson, because of what I’ve seen, because of what I have went through, because of what I have witnessed in this justice system.”
Before reading Brandon’s sentencing entry, Buckwalter noted that he was “moved” by comments from the family members, but said, “I’m also obliged to follow the law. But I do appreciate everything you’ve said. It’s rare that we get this much support for any one individual, so I commend everyone for that.”
Durham will be forced to register as a Tier III sex offender for life.
Reach Nathan Pilling at 937-502-4498 or on Twitter @XDGNatePilling.