INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Jason Brown’s face has healed from wounds after his rollover accident on South Madison Avenue in July, but his outlook was stoic and grim as he was walked in shackles through the basement of the City County Building after being told by a judge that the Marion County Prosecutor wants to see him die for the murder of Southport Police Lieutenant Aaron Allan.
Brown had just been advised in court that Prosecutor Terry Curry had filed a request to seek the death penalty for the killing of the policeman who peered into the inverted car after the crash and was shot eleven times at point blank range.
“He’s devastated. He was involved in a very major car accident and there was an officer that ended up being killed. He’s devastated. His family is devastated,” Defense Attorney Denise Turner told CBS4 outside the courtroom following the advisory hearing. “There was a lot of suffering on both sides. Jason’s family. Jason. The officer and his family.”
Lt. Allan died hours after walking his little boy to the bus stop that morning to begin his first day of school.
“We do think it is very important that we will send a message that we will not tolerate in any way attacks upon our public safety officers,” said Curry when he made the death penalty announcement. “The inevitable question is, why did this happen? And we do not know and we might not ever know.”
That uncertainty troubles Monica Foster, a death penalty qualified attorney who has represented more than 30 defendants facing execution for their crimes.
“How was the killing accomplished? Was it intentional? Was it knowing?” Foster asked. “All of those things bear on whether the prosecution can make the case an aggravation for the death penalty and indeed whether the prosecutor can make the murder case in the guilt phase.”
Friends told CBS4 that while Brown owned three pistols, he was not prone to violence and had only a minor drug arrest in Hendricks County on his record.
“First of all you’ve got a defendant who does not have a lengthy criminal history which I think bears upon his criminal culpability and criminal orientation. He’s not a guy who’s out there on the street looking to kill a cop,” said Foster. “He was involved in a traffic accident and was indeed hanging upside down at the time that this occurred which as a defense lawyer leads me to wonder, was he concussing? Had he suffered a head trauma?”
Curry said his office sought the death penalty with the sole intention of convincing a judge and a jury that it would be an appropriate punishment for the murder of a police officer.
Foster said such intentions usually give away to a plea agreement in the interest of justice.
The police officer parents of IMPD Patrolman David Moore told Curry they did not want their son’s killer executed.
Curry agreed to a plea agreement with Major Davis III in the killing of officer Perry Renn due to the defendant’s diagnosed mental illness issues.
“Frequently the cases are plea bargained to Life Without Parole or even some lengthy lengthy term of years depending on the facts of the case,” Foster said. “Jurors are increasing rejecting the death penalty in favor of the LWOP even when the cases get there.”
There are currently twelve people living on Death Row at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City.
“It costs millions of dollars to try and execute a person,” said Foster. “The investigation that’s required when death is filed is exponentially larger than any other case because of the qualitative difference between death and even a sentence of life imprisonment.”
While Brown’s trial has been scheduled for next February, that date will be almost certainly pushed back as his attorney said she still has co-counsel, an investigator and other support staff to hire to prepare a defense.