Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Marcus Dewayne Brantley, 25 years old, who previously resided in the 500 block of Aylesbury Drive in Virginia Beach, was sentenced today by Circuit Court Judge Glenn R. Croshaw for Second Degree Murder and Child Endangerment. Judge Croshaw sentenced Brantley to 45 years in prison with 13 suspended leaving 32 years to serve. The sentence was ten (10) years over the high-end of the recommended Virginia State Sentencing Guidelines.
Brantley pled guilty on April 22, 2013. Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth’s evidence would have proved that on May 22, 2011, Marcus Brantley and his wife had a baby girl named Melanie Brantley. Marcus Brantley’s wife was in the U.S. Navy and she deployed on March 29, 2012. At that point, Melanie stayed in Alabama with her maternal grandmother until Marcus went to pick her up in mid-May, 2012. When Marcus picked up Melanie from her grandmother, she was a normal, healthy baby.
From that time until August 15, 2012, Melanie stayed with Marcus in an apartment in Virginia Beach. Marcus was her caretaker during this time. On August 15, 2012, Marcus called 911 and reported that Melanie wasn’t breathing. Virginia Beach police responded and found that Melanie was barely breathing, was unresponsive, and had vomited. Melanie was rushed to Sentara Leigh Hospital, where the doctors quickly realized she needed to be transferred to CHKD due to the seriousness of her condition. Marcus Brantley was calm, and told the police that Melanie had fallen and hit her head. He maintained this lie throughout the investigation.
An initial examination at CHKD revealed that Melanie was mentally unresponsive and she may be brain dead. Melanie underwent brain surgery but never regained any neurological functions. She died on August 17, 2012. Melanie suffered swelling and bleeding of the brain, bruising on her cheek and eyelid, multiple large skull fractures on three different sides of her head, healing rib fractures, and brain and retinal hemorrhages. Medical personnel concluded that her injuries were consistent with abusive head trauma, shaking, and battered child syndrome. Marcus Brantley continued to lie to investigators about the cause of Melanie’s injuries during the days she was in the hospital, and even after her death.
The case was prosecuted by Associate Commonwealth’s Attorney Julie L. Fink and Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Elliott H. DeJarnette V. Please contact Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.