The murder of a Shawnee woman this past week in a murder-suicide is the fourth homicide-related death investigated by Shawnee police in the past two and half months.


The murder of a Shawnee woman this past week in a murder-suicide is the fourth homicide-related death investigated by Shawnee police in the past two and half months.

Of those four, one case remains unsolved.

It was Aug. 6 when the body of Alan Wade Branscum, 54, was found under the Beard Street bridge in downtown Shawnee.

Branscum, who was originally from Arkansas, was living homeless in the Shawnee area at the time of his death. Shawnee police detectives have followed many leads in the ongoing investigation.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled cause of Branscum’s death as multiple injuries caused by blunt force trauma.

Police aren’t certain of a motive for the killing, but have said a possible motive could be robbery as they believe Branscum may have had some money from a recent social security check.

Police also investigated two homicides in September.

A fight that occurred Sept. 14 on East Dunbar Street resulted in the death of a local man.

Brandon Bingnear, 35, died from injuries he suffered in a fight with another man, Ryan Matthew Stevenson, 26.

Stevenson has been formally charged with first-degree manslaughter in the case and is accused, without a premeditated design, of causing and effecting the death of Bingnear.

Days earlier on Sept. 12, a Shawnee man was injured when he was stabbed in the face at his home. Ronald Lee Scott, 58, died from his injuries Sept. 17 at an Oklahoma City hospital.

Scott’s stepson, Nickey Don Sneed, 38, is charged with second-degree murder in that case.

Both defendants’ cases are progressing through the court system in Pottawatomie County.

And this past week, in what police have called a murder-suicide, a Shawnee woman was shot and killed by a 17-year-old who then took his own life.

Police reports show Jonathan Buss Jr., 17, and Valerie Kerr, 38, a family friend, were both found dead at a home on West Ninth Street.

There were many questions by police as to why Buss shot Kerr, but family members of Buss believe and have said the shooting was an accident.

Chief Russell Frantz said the investigation indicates Buss shot Kerr in the head with a .45 caliber Remington semi-automatic pistol.

The bullet passed through her and injured his cousin, Billy Clay Kirby, 42, in the arm. Buss then turned the gun on himself, the report shows.

Frantz said while there have been four homicides in recent months, he said there were many years in the past where Shawnee had zero homicides in a given year, but the numbers do fluctuate.

Watch for updates.