08:27, November 10 296 0 abajournal.com

2017-11-10 08:27:05
Ex-juvenile lifer makes the best of a second chance and forges a friendship with a lawyer

A Pennsylvania man decided to pay it back with an honest gesture after he benefited from a U.S. Supreme Court decision finding life sentences for juveniles to be unconstitutional.

Jeffrey Branch decided to do the right thing, and the result is a new friendship forged with a lawyer who is trying to help Branch find a full-time job, Philly.com reports. The lawyer, Mark Cedrone, has already extended an invitation for Branch and his wife to come to his home for Thanksgiving dinner.

Branch, 53, was a juvenile when he was an accomplice in a robbery in which a man was killed. He served more than 35 years in prison for second-degree murder before his release on parole eight months ago.

Four months ago, Branch found two briefcases left on the curb in South Philadelphia. He surmised the bags were left behind by mistake. He waited for the owner to return, and when no one appeared, he took the briefcases to his home.

Inside the briefcases were “a pricey computer, a good amount of cash, and some important-looking papers,” according to Philly.com. There were also a stack of business cards for Cedrone. Branch called the number.

“I’ve been given a second chance in life,” Branch tells Philly.com, “and I want to make sure I make the best of it.”

“I was a bad kid. This was a first test that I am not that bad kid anymore.”