Floyd’s new interim prosecutor

Nick Rush, Eric Branscome and Lauren Yoder check returns in 2011 election.
Republicans Nick Rush, Eric Branscom and Lauren Yoder check returns in 2011 election.

We reported on The Floyd Press web site Tuesday and in Thursday’s print edition that Eric Branscom — an assistant prosecutor in Roanoke, Montgomery and Alleghany counties for the past several years — will be the new interim Commonwealth’s Attorney in Floyd County for the rest of Stephanie Shortt’s second term.

Shortt becomes a juvenile and domestic relations judge on Dec. 1 and Branscom, who moved to Floyd County to run for the Commonwealth’s Attorney job in 2007, lost to her in that election.

Branscom did knock off incumbent prosecutor and scandal-scarred Gordon Hannett in the GOP primary that year. Hannett later went to trial for stealing hard drives from computers in the Commonwealth Attorney’s office.  His sentence: Picking up trash along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Hannett, a reservist who served in Iraq during his time in office, is now full-time in the Army and serving in Washington state.

Branscom has been working as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Covington recently but becomes Floyd’s full-time prosecutor from Dec. 1 until the end of 2015.  He can run for election if he wants to keep the job but others are also lining to run next year.

Many in legal circles thought Judge Marc Long would select Floyd attorney Harrison Schroeder for the post.  Schroeder wanted it but Long says Branscom’s nine years as an assistant prosecutor in three counties gave him the edge.

Branscom will be sworn in and take office on Monday, Dec. 1 — the opening day for the new court session, which includes grand jury consideration for new cases.

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