INDIANAPOLIS — Four-and-a-half years after Lt. Aaron Allan was shot to death, the bench trial for the man accused of the Southport officer's murderwrapped up after just six days in a Marion County courtroom.
Superior Court Judge Mark Stoner will take another week to review the more than 200 exhibits and testimony from more than two dozen witnesses that were entered into evidence during the bench trial for Jason Dane Brown.
The judge is being asked to decide if Brown's violent attack was caused by drugs or a seizure. Stoner will deliver his verdict at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 22.
Allan was among the first officers on the scene after Brown crashed and flipped a BMW in the 6600 block of South Madison Avenue about 2:40 p.m. on July 27, 2017. Prosecutors say Brown was suspended by a seat belt in the upside-down car when he fired 18 shots, 11 of which hit Allan.
Prosecutors say Brown, 32, was high and hallucinating when he crashed and fatally shot Allan, who had crawled into the overturned vehicle to help.
The evidence showed Brown was a cocaine addict who used 9 to 10 times a day. The night before he killed Allan, Anderson said Brown stopped using drugs because he was hiding his addiction from his new girlfriend, who was visiting from Ohio, Deputy Prosecutor Ross Anderson said in closing arguments.
"The only reason you leave your girlfriend is because you need drugs, you need to get high," Anderson said. "Of course they were getting high, judge. Mr. Brown had gone 16 to 17 hours without using cocaine."
Anderson said Brown was so desperate for drugs that shortly before the crash and shooting he smoked synthetic marijuana, or spice — even though Brown had a history of bad and violent reactions when he had used spice in the past.
Allan drove to the crash scene intent on helping the injured driver. He crawled into the overturned car through an open back passenger-side window. Brown was visible in Allan's body camera video, seat-belted in the driver's seat and hanging upside-down.
Allan is heard on the video talking to Brown, urging him to calm down for fear he might hurt himself. The video played in court shows Brown start to struggle, shout and swear.
Allan sees him reach behind his back and shouts: "He's trying to grab something out of his pocket!"
There's a crack of gunshots. Allan crawls out of the vehicle and collapses, the body camera focuses on blades of grass and earth as people are talking in the background.
Anderson called it "the ultimate nightmare scenario for a police officer."
Brown, Anderson said, is solely responsible for Allan's death and is guilty of murder.
Defense attorney Denise Brown, however, said Brown suffered a seizure that day. He had a history of head trauma going back to when he was dropped as a baby, she argued. Seizures run in Brown's family,
The seizure, Turner said, caused Brown to drive recklessly, crash and fire the shots that killed Allan. The evidence, Turner said, shows Brown was incapable of forming the intent the law requires to prove murder.
"Not every story has a villain," Turner said in closing arguments. "Lt. Allan is still a hero and Jason Brown is innocent of murder."
Allan, 38, joined the Southport Police Department in 2011 and is the first Southport officer to be killed in the line of duty. On his last morning alive, Allan walked his then-6-year-old son to schoolfor his first day of kindergarten, his widow Stacy Allan testified.
This trial is ending sooner than expected because Brown no longer faces a possibility of life without parole. Stoner on Friday dismissed the life without parole enhancement, ruling that prosecutors did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Brown knew Allan was a police officer when he fired the handgun.
Stoner is hearing the case because Brown waived his right to a jury trial in exchange for the state's agreement to dismiss a possible death penalty charge.
In he's found guilty of Allan's murder, Brown faces a sentence of 45 to 65 years in prison.
Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at email@example.com or on Twitter: @vicryc.
WRTV Senior Digital Content Producer Andrew Smith assisted with this story.
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