Odessa , TX – November 16, 2015 – Khalifah Ibn Muhammad, 29, has been sentenced to life in prison for a deadly 2015 shooting death of 24-year-old Brandon Lee Russell in Odessa.
On Wednesday a jury found found Khalifah Muhammad guilty of murder in the death of Brandon Lee Russell on September 30, 2015.
Judge Stacy Trotter then sentenced Muhammad to life in prison.
Muhammad was charged with shooting Russell several times in the back as Russell was trying to repossess his car.
“This maximum sentence is more than justified by this horrific crime committed against someone just trying to do his job. Mr. Muhammad will spend the rest of his life in prison where he belongs,” said Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland in a release.
Assistant District Attorneys William Prasher and Christopher Fostel represented the State and Jason Leach represented the defendant.
The shooting death of 24-year-old Brandon Lee Russell stemmed from an argument about a car Russell and a co-worker were attempting to repossess.
The arrest affidavit stated, that Muhammad called emergency services before the shooting to complain about someone trying to repossess his Chevrolet Malibu at Acacia Apartments, 4775 Oakwood Drive.
Dispatchers reported hearing Muhammad say, “Why didn’t you let me get my stuff?” to another person before the line disconnected. At 10:48 p.m., about five minutes later, another caller reported hearing about a dozen gunshots.
Police arrived to find Russell sitting in a black Nissan Sentra suffering gunshot wounds, while 10 spent 9mm casings laid outside of the Sentra, according to the affidavit. Russell would be taken by ambulance to Medical Center Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Russell, who worked for West Texas Auto Recovery, arrived to repossess the vehicle at the apartment complex with a 27-year-old co-worker identified as Jimmy Tilghman, according to the affidavit.
Tilghman reportedly told police that Muhammad emerged from the vehicle and confronted him and Russell when they began to hook up the Malibu to a tow truck. Muhammad, Tilghman told police, said the men were repossessing his car illegally.
Tilghman also told police Muhammad got into the driver’s seat of the tow truck and that Tilghman ordered him out, brandishing a stun gun — an exchange reportedly audible on the call to emergency dispatchers, according to the affidavit.
Muhammad got out of the tow truck, and Tilghman drove it away hauling the Malibu, according to the affidavit. The report says Tilghman looked to see Muhammad reach behind his back before hearing several gunshots.
Police arrested Muhammad without incident at 6:30 a.m. Saturday at the Flying J truck stop at 5900 E. Interstate 20. He was listed Monday as being held at the Ector County Detention Center on a $2 million bond.
Russell was remembered by family and his boss as a hard worker and peaceful man who was loved by his family, according to previous Odessa American reports.