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CROWN POINT — A 41-year-old man was sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison for shooting his ex-wife's husband in Gary.

Charles R. Branham Jr. appeared before Judge Salvador Vasquez on Tuesday in Lake Criminal Court .

Branham pleaded guilty in December to aggravated battery for shooting the victim in the stomach April 8, 2015, at the man's home in the 4400 block of Connecticut Street in Gary.

Defense attorney Alexander Woloshansky told the judge Branham had cleaned up his act since the shooting. He was employed, sober and supporting his children. He had remarried, and recently had a son.

Woloshansky said Branham shot the man because of allegations the man had molested Branham's daughter. Vasquez noted Woloshansky did not provide the court a police report supporting that claim.

Deputy Prosecutor David Rooda told the judge Branham was a “career criminal,” with 10 prior misdemeanor convictions and eight felony convictions.

Branham told the judge he was sorry for his actions, and realized he needed to pay his debt to society.

Vasquez said the shooting was “an extremely violent act,” which could have caused the man's death.

The judge noted Branham's criminal history did not include many allegations of violence, but the shooting occurred while Branham was on parole for a prior felony conviction.

The judge sentenced Branham to six years in prison. Branham faced a sentence of three to nine years in prison based on his plea agreement.

The state agreed in the plea to dismiss charges of attempted murder, battery by means of a deadly weapon, a firearm sentencing enhancement and unrelated charges stemming from a June 2015 police chase.

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Courts and social justice reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.