INDIANAPOLIS — A judge has made a guilty ruling in the killing of a Southport police lieutenant.
In front of a packed courtroom with at least 20 Southport police officers, Marion Superior Judge Mark Stoner found Jason Brown guilty of murder for fatally shooting 38-year-old Southport Lt. Aaron Allan.
“I have waited so long, four-and-a-half years for this. Finally, something happens,” said Laurie Lowry, Allan’s mother. “It felt like a ton of weight lifted off my heart.”
Brown was driving erratically and rolled his car at Madison and Maynard on Indianapolis’ southside on July 27, 2017.
Lieutenant Allan arrived on the scene and as he crouched down to peer inside the inverted vehicle to check on Brown’s condition, the driver pulled a gun from behind his back and fired 18 shots, striking Allan eleven times.
In rendering his verdict, Judge Mark Stoner said that Brown would have known that firing a gun at near point-blank range was certain to cause death.
Brown’s defense put Texas headache clinic operator Dr. Pamela Blake on the stand who explained her theory that Brown had suffered a seizure just before the crash and was perhaps not aware of his actions.
Judge Stoner said that Blake was not an expert on seizures and that her opinion had changed between the time of an earlier deposition and the trial to fit the seizure defense which he compared to putting, “a square peg in a round hole.”
The judge also discounted the prosecution theory that Brown was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash and shooting, but, lacking blood sample evidence, there was no way to prove the claim.
Stoner also pronounced Brown’s companion in the car that day, who told investigators that the pair was doing drugs and driving fast, unreliable as he later backed off his story during testimony.
Brown made “a willful choice” to not get medical care for his history of head injuries and therefore engaged in “dangerous behavior” which led to the fatal shooting, said the judge.
“We do hope with the verdict of this court finding him guilty of murder that the criminal side of this case can be put in the past and the friends and family of Lieutenant Allan can begin to move forward,” said Deputy Prosecutor Ross Anderson. “We believe we will get a just sentence even if it’s not everything we hope for in this particular case.”
In the aftermath of the murder, the late Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced his office would try the case as death penalty eligible.
Following Curry’s death, his successor, Ryan Mears, conferred with family who were concerned that the live streaming of a jury trial due to COVID restrictions might someday result in Lieutenant Allan’s body-worn camera video of the shooting to be posted to the internet where his young son might find it and be further traumatized.
In exchange for dismissing the death penalty, Mears secured an agreement for a bench trial in which Judge Stoner would consider a life without parole sentence if Brown were convicted, but, at the close of the State’s case, Stoner found prosecutors had not proven that Brown knew he was shooting a police officer and, as a result, announced that the maximum sentence the defendant would face would be 65 years in prison.
“I would rather have had the death penalty because that’s what he deserves. He took my eldest son and I will never get to see him again,” said Lowry. “I hope he learns and thinks about this. Whatever time the judge gives him, I hope he thinks about what he’s done. He took something so precious there is nothing that is ever gonna bring that back.”
James Allan sat in on every day of the trial of his son’s killer.
“We finally have justice,” he said. “These officers do an outstanding job. They do it unconditionally and for that, their sacrifice, their loss, needs always to be voiced the loudest.”
Brown now faces up to 65 years in prison. His sentencing has been set for April 8 at 9:30 a.m.
His attorneys refused to comment after the verdict.
Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears released the following statement:
“We should all strive to carry ourselves with the compassion that Aaron demonstrated both in his professional and personal life. He was a family man who lost his life while trying to do his job and help someone in need. As we come one step closer to providing finality to the criminal matter, our thoughts remain with the Allan family and the Southport Police Department.”