INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Prosecutors are no longer seeking the death penalty for the man charged in the fatal shooting of a police officer who had come to his aid after the man's car overturned in a crash in Indianapolis four years ago.
Marion Superior Judge Mark Stoner last week granted a jury trial waiver requested by Jason D. Brown, who is charged in the 2017 fatal shooting of Southport police Lt. Aaron Allan.
The Marion County prosecutor’s office agreed to drop their death penalty request in exchange for the judge, instead of a jury, hearing the case in February. The judge will consider whether to convict Brown of murder and determine whether to impose a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to the waiver agreement.
Michael Leffler, a spokesperson for the prosecutor's office, said the office agreed to the deal after conferring with Allan's family.
Defense attorney Denise Turner told WIBC radio that both sides are ready for the case to be resolved. She said she anticipates that having the judge deliver the verdict instead of a jury doing so will shorten the trial by three or four weeks and eliminate the potential for a mistrial.
After the shooting, then- Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said he’d seek the death penalty, calling it “a very senseless act.” Curry died this year, two years after he stepped down while being treated for prostate cancer.
Police said Allan was trying to help Brown after the single-car crash on the south side of Indianapolis. Witnesses at the scene told authorities Brown suddenly became agitated and opened fire, striking the officer 11 times.
Two other officers opened fire on Brown following Allan’s shooting. He was hospitalized for several days with what authorities said were gunshot wounds to his face, left arm and right clavicle.
Allan, a 38-year-old married father of two sons, was hired in January 2017 as a second full-time officer for Southport’s largely volunteer police force after about five years as a volunteer officer for the 2,000-person municipality on the south side of Indianapolis.
Casey Smith is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.