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Kountze city councilman turns himself into jail

Updated: Monday, July 14 2014, 12:18 AM CDT
KOUNTZE - by Leslie Rangel

A Kountze city councilman is out on bond this evening after turning himself into Hardin County deputies on a felony theft charge.

Ira Braneff, the 56-year-old community leader, is accused of keeping more than $3,000 from the sale of a cemetery headstone.

The headstone was reportedly never received.

This is a mug shot from the Hardin County Sheriff's Office of Braneff.

"That don't show no kind of leadership, no, none whatsoever," community member James McNeal says.

Braneff confessed to felony theft according to a probable cause affidavit.

According to the document Braneff says he kept more than $3,000 he was paid for a headstone to honor Kountze High School student Keiron Edwards who died in January.

Edward's mother says she never received the headstone.

Edwards friends say they've had enough.

"His family they're already going through enough rough times as it is and that's pretty stupid," Shane Welch says, he went to high school with Edwards.

Hardin county deputies say Branneff came here to the Hardin County jail around 8 o' clock this morning, turned himself and and was able to post his $10,000 bond, no court date has been set yet.

"They lost their child and then this come back up, it's no good," McNeal.

During our interview, we learned this man is actually a family member of the Edwards, he says their family is distraught.

"They real upset about it, they can't believe what happened, they really don't want to talk about it," McNeal said.

"It's ridiculous messing with someone who's passed on, they should rest in peace and not have to worry about all this stuff," Welch says.

People at Mama Jack's Cafe in town had a different opinion, they wouldn't go on camera but say Braneff was a friend yesterday and is a friend today and they call him a good man.

No court date has been set at this time.
Kountze city councilman turns himself into jail

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