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Jason Dane Brown sentenced to 55 years for murdering Southport police Lt. Aaron Allan

Posted at 5:57 PM, May 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-09 08:59:46-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The man found guilty of murder in the 2017 death of Southport police Lt. Aaron Allan has been sentenced to 55 years in prison.

After more than three hours of testimony and arguments, Marion Superior Court Judge Mark Stoner sentenced Jason Dane Brown to 55 years in prison and another three years suspended.

"(Allan) was there to help. He was not there to be a cop," Stoner said. "He died as a hero trying to help someone who was helpless at the time."

Remembering Southport Police Lt. Aaron Allan

Stoner found Brown, 33, guilty after a six-day trial on Feb. 22. Brown faced a sentence ranging from 45 to 65 years in prison. Prosecutors argued for the maximum; Brown's lawyers urged the judge to give the minimum.

Defense witnesses testified about Brown's difficult childhood, raised by a drug-addicted mother who was often too stoned to take care of her kids. His father was in prison for drug crimes. He suffered repeated head injuries in accidents and from beatings he suffered at the hands of his mother's boyfriends.

Judge Stoner agreed that Brown had a tough life, but urged him to seek counseling and do better.

"You need to try to make something positive of the rest of your life," Stoner said. "If you do, Lt. Allan's sacrifice won't be because of nothing."

Allan was a helper, according to testimony.

Several of Allan's friends on the police force described Allan as a selfless and generous officer — the kind of cop who would buy a hungry person a meal.

Allan helped a troubled high school kid improve his grades and join the Army, Southport police Major Dawn Asbury testified. That young man took emergency leave to attend Allan's funeral, Asbury said.

"I think if Lt. Allan had a chance to talk to Mr. Brown," Stoner said, "he would have done everything he could to help Jason Brown."

Allan was among the first officers on the scene after Brown crashed and flipped a BMW in the 6600 block of South Madison Avenue on July 27, 2017. Brown was seat-belted and suspended in the upside-down car when he fired 18 shots, 11 of which hit Allan.

Prosecutors say Brown was high and hallucinating when he fired those deadly shots. A urine test that showed Brown had used cocaine, marijuana and synthetic marijuana, but the test didn't prove that Brown was high at the time of the crash.

Defense attorneys argued that Brown suffered a seizure induced by years-old head trauma that was never treated. Brown, the defense said, had no control over his actions when he crashed, grabbed a gun and repeatedly pulled the trigger.

In one powerful courtroom moment Friday, Allan's father James Allan took the witness stand and spoke directly to Brown.

"I miss my son," James Allan said. "It was a tragedy. It was a tragedy for everyone in this room. But it was one man's choice. It was your choice, Jason... You took his life. And for that I'm sad because I'll never see my son grow old, any more than you will ever see your son grow old. But it was your choice."

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James Allan, the father of Southport Police Department Lt. Aaron Allan, spoke on Monday, February 21, 2022, oen day before the man accused of killing his son will learn the verdict in the trial.

Brown cried several times during the testimony. When it was his turn to speak, Brown cried as he apologized.

"I'm sorry to his family, to his friends and his coworkers," Brown said. "I never intended to harm anyone, to take someone's life."

Brown talked about the pain of knowing his son and Allan's son will now both grow up without fathers.

"It absolutely breaks my heart. I'm so sorry," Brown said. "I'm sorry for your loss. And I'm sorry I'm the one who caused it."

Brown told the judge he wants to seek an appeal. He will have to serve at least 46.5 years of his sentence, Stoner said.

Brown was tried by the judge because he waived his right to a jury trial in exchange for Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears' agreement to dismiss a death penalty charge. The trial opened with prosecutors hoping to win a sentence of life without parole, but Stoner dismissed the enhanced penalty after ruling the state failed to prove that Brown knew Allan was a police officer when he shot him.

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Aaron Allan, 38, is the first Southport officer to be killed in the line of duty. Before starting his final shift, Allan walked his then-6-year-old son to his first day of kindergarten, his widow Stacy Allan testified in February.

Stacy Allan was not in court Friday, but she wrote a letter that the judge read to himself silently in the courtroom.

Stoner said he was moved by the fact that Allan, like most police officers, often put the safety and well being of others ahead of their own lives and families.

"Police officers sacrifice so much in terms of family... Never knowing whether or not you will come home to your family," Stoner said. "That is the definition of sacrifice."

Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at victor.ryckaert@wrtv.com or on Twitter: @vicryc.

WRTV Senior Digital Content Producer Andrew Smith assisted with this report.

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