View Full Version : Article: Man freed from murder sentence gets nearly 6 years for drugs

Phil in Paris
09-23-2004, 08:57 AM
Wednesday September 22, 2004

Associated Press Writer

MIAMI (AP) A judge scolded a mildly retarded man freed after serving 12 years for a murder he didn't commit as she sentenced him Wednesday for drug crimes, saying, ``You threw away your chance at freedom and liberty.''

Timothy Brown, 28, recack on track.''

No one in court was going along not even his angry mother, Othalean Brown. She stood by him during his prolonged legal challenge to his murder conviction but couldn't stand to look at him in court.

She said she has forgiven Brown but blames him for the crimes committed by her grandson Bowers, whom she has raised from a baby. She doesn't plan to visit Brown in prison, but she buried her tearful face in her hands listening to Bowers' punishment.

``I'm in a lot of pain right now because of my grandson,'' Othalean Brown said. ``Tim, he had two choices: the right road and the wrong road, and he chose the wrong road.''

Altonaga said Brown wasted the chance of a lifetime when his conviction was erased in the 1990 shooting death of Deputy Patrick Behan.

``You were certainly the victim of justice gone awry,'' the judge said. But she called him a ``willful participant in the world of crack cocaine'' and chided him for ``frankly such outright stupidity, brazenness and total disregard of the law.''

Brown's attorneys, who have been defending him for seven years, said they thought the judge was expressing the community's sentiment and disappointment.

``Tim Brown has mental limitations, but he knows the difference between right and wrong,'' Assistant Federal Defender Tim Day said.

The judge rejected arguments that Brown's sentence should have been shortened for his lost youth spent behind bars. Brown was jailed at 15 in Behan's slaying on what another judge decided was a false confession. He was freed in June 2003 and admitted selling drugs to agents starting in September 2003.

Brown has an IQ of 56, was in trouble as a juvenile and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder following physical abuse by his crack-addicted father, the defense said.

``He could have had a chance. I do believe that, had he not lost those 12 years,'' Assistant Federal Defender Brenda Bryn said.

The judge said Brown's nephew, a high school student with a part-time job, ``didn't look for trouble, but trouble came knocking at his door.''

Othalean Brown said her son tore the family apart when he got out of prison, and they were two days away from starting a new life in Palm Beach County when the pair were arrested along with three others.

``I'm through. I'm through,'' she said. ``He just threw his life away, and now he's admitting he done wrong.''

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)