INDIANAPOLIS – The attorney for the man convicted of killing Southport Lieutenant Aaron Allan in 2017 believes her client should have his conviction reduced from murder to voluntary manslaughter.
Defense attorney Ann Sutton believes urine analysis results were improperly used against Jason Brown during the 2022 bench trial that resulted in a guilty verdict and a 55-year sentence.
Prosecutors originally planned to seek the death penalty in the case. However, Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears agreed to waive the death penalty if Brown waived his right to a jury trial.
Brown shot and killed Allan on July 27, 2017, after crashing his car near Madison and Maynard on the south side. Allan responded to the scene to check on Brown, who pulled a gun and fired more than a dozen shots, striking Allan 11 times. Allan died from his wounds.
While delivering the verdict, Judge Mark Stoner said Brown would have known that firing shots at near point-blank range would certainly kill someone.
Brown has appealed the conviction, however. According to court documents filed this week, Sutton argued that Brown’s urine wasn’t tested until 19 days after Allan’s shooting.
A detective went to Eskenazi Hospital on Aug. 15, 2017, with a warrant for Brown’s blood; a nurse informed the detective that the blood had been discarded the week before. The nurse then suggested that a urine sample was still available. The detective secured another warrant and then obtained the sample for analysis.
According to the brief, investigators initially indicated that a blood sample had been taken from Brown. However, the crash report was amended a year later to say that no sample was taken.
The blood evidence “would have indicated what Mr. Brown was on, if anything, on July 27, 2017,” Sutton wrote in her brief. “Urine could only explain what Mr. Brown had ingested in the hours, days or weeks before the incident.”
Sutton argued that admitting the urine toxicology results “permitted the State to advance the theory that Mr. Brown was under the influence of spice, which could only have been rebutted by blood toxicology results,” which in effect violated Brown’s right to a fair trial.
Sutton said witness accounts and body camera video of the incident showed Brown “did not possess the knowing intent” to be convicted of murder. Brown was “in and out of consciousness” after the crash and was “trying to process” what happened as he was upside down in the vehicle, she argued in the brief. He was “shooting to protect himself from what he could not process,” which was that Allan was coming to help him.
During the trial, defense attorneys also said Brown had suffered a seizure.
“He did not knowingly and intentionally shoot Lt. Allan,” Sutton wrote in the brief. “The urine sample analysis was unreliable evidence of what was in Mr. Brown’s system at the time of the accident and should never have been admitted. The conviction for Murder should be reversed.”
Sutton is asking the court to reduce Brown’s conviction to voluntary manslaughter, which would result in a significant reduction in his sentence.