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Schuylkill County News

After the New Philadelphia Murders, Lamour Branch Allegedly Didn’t Stop Talking About It

Alleged phone calls and texts from prison won’t help his case.

In the moments after he allegedly killed two teens in New Philadelphia on Oct. 8, 2023, up until his arrest on Wednesday, Lamour Branch apparently couldn’t stop talking about what police say he did that night.

A police affidavit reveals some more details about the investigation that led to Branch’s arrest inside Schuylkill County Courthouse on Wednesday.

And those details show that after he allegedly killed Hunter Mock and Angelito Caraballo in a wooded area near New Philadelphia known as The Sanchez, Branch hard a hard time keeping quiet about it.

Here’s a look at what Branch supposedly said in the moments and months after the New Philadelphia murders. Some of the information about what Branch said is based on hearsay and some of it is based on phone calls and text messages he made from Schuylkill County Prison:

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“You already know what happened. Both of them is dead.”

On Oct. 12, Jahlique Sherwood, the fourth person in the woods on the night of Oct. 8, was interviewed by State Police at their Frackville barracks.

Sherwood relayed details about what he said happened in the moments after Branch allegedly shot Mock and stabbed Caraballo to death. He learned this information from a conversation he had with Jonathan Rivera-Hernandez.

One stop police say Branch made in his Oct. 9 early-morning getaway was to the Pottsville home of Rivera-Hernandez. He got Rivera-Hernandez to come outside into his vehicle.

Branch supposedly wanted Rivera-Hernandez to hang out with him. Rivera-Hernandez said he couldn’t because he had a girl staying with him that night.

At that point, according to Sherwood, Branch allegedly told Rivera-Hernandez he wasn’t going to say much but told him to look in the back seat of his vehicle. Branch showed him a gun and a gold pocketknife.

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That’s when Branch supposedly said, “You already know what happened. Both of them is dead.”

During his interview with police on Oct. 12, Rivera-Hernandez eventually admitted to police that Branch had visited him after midnight on Oct. 9 and that Branch was mad he wouldn’t hang out with him.

“I know eventually they are going to try to come book me.”

On Oct. 25, 2023, just before 7 p.m. Branch makes a call to someone named Catori Mike from Schuylkill County Prison.

During that phone call, Branch sounds confident that he’ll be released because he thinks police don’t have enough evidence to charge him with the murders of Mock and Caraballo.

He even said that he never had a knife that Sherwood apparently told police Branch had.

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This is what Branch said to Mike on that phone call, according to the police affidavit:

“I’m going to be out of here for sure until they hit me with this, until they try to hit me with the other sh**. But they ain’t go no evidence on me. That’s why they ain’t charge me yet.

Speaking of Sherwood, Branch said, “He f***ed up. He said I’m the only one that flared that pole (shot that gun). Dumb a** ni**a got his prints on that pole. They ain’t got sh**. They tried to tell me I had a knife. I didn’t have no f***in’ knife. I don’t know what the f*** they talking about, and they couldn’t find that neither. That’s really all they had to hold me, the rest is hearsay. But they ain’t find none of that sh**, so that’s why I’m chilling for right now. I know eventually they are going to try to come book me, but I’m trying to get out and get a lawyer before they do that.”

Branch apparently told Mike that Rivera-Hernandez was keeping him up-to-date on matters related to the investigation.

Branch Allegedly Sings to Cell Mate

Just after noon on Nov. 29, 2023, police interview a cell mate of Branch’s at Schuylkill County Prison. That cell mate allegedly told police information that Branch shared with him. Police say some of the information the cell mate shared was not public knowledge at the time.

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Branch allegedly said that it was his intent on Oct. 8 to kill Hailey Califf, whom he believed was trying to kill him. He apparently said that was potentially going to kill Mock, too. Branch believed Califf “had a bullet with his name on it” and that he feared for his safety.

Califf was not at the place Mock was when Branch and Sherwood arrived that night to head out to The Sanchez, however. Caraballo came along instead.

Branch then allegedly told his cell mate that he admitted to shooting Mock in the head but it was Sherwood who stabbed Caraballo to death. Caraballo was killed, Branch supposedly said, because he was the only other witness to him killing Mock.

The cell mate then told police that Branch recalled standing over one of the victims as he bled out and repeatedly said “Why” aloud.

Branch also reportedly told his cell mate that the frame of the gun he used was in a water well at one of the properties he visited the night of the murders, either in Port Carbon, Tremont, or outside Mountain Top in Luzerne County.

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It was in Luzerne County where Branch was first taken into custody.

Police, on Dec. 15, 2023, executed a search warrant and found a black and gold pocketknife in the water well system of Branch’s Tremont place. The frame of the gun Branch supposedly said was in a water well was not found.

“Ya jawn marked me on a bullet.”

On Jan. 23, 2024, Branch allegedly sent a text message to Rivera-Hernandez. In that message, he explained his feelings about Califf, namely his disdain for her.

Branch wrote:

“Gng my loyalty, love n respect ain’t neva change for u but at the same time ya jawn (Califf) marked me on a bullet. I came to u b4 everything went left n I told you my mission ,, being she belonged to you dats no longer my intentions but ik she got pole so if I was to see her in traffic n she movin funny I cant promise you that I won’t crash I got ppl depending on me So as a man n ya bro I’m letting you know that now.

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Branch was arraigned on two counts of first- and third-degree murder as well as a host of other felonies.

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