INDIANAPOLIS — A Marion County judge on Monday viewed the body camera footage capturing the shooting that killed Southport Police Lt. Aaron Allan in 2017. More than four years after Allan was shot to death, the man accused of pulling the trigger is now on trial for murder.
Allan was among the first officers on scene to help after a BMW crashed and flipped the car in the 6600 block of South Madison Avenue in Homecroft about 2:40 p.m. on July 27, 2017.
The footage from the camera on Allan's uniform showed Monday in Marion Superior Court starts shortly after Allan crawled into the vehicle to help the driver.
In the video, Allan is halfway inside the car trying to calm the driver down.
"Can you tell me what happened?" Allan asked.
The driver tells the officer his name is Jason. The driver is seen struggling to get out of the seatbelt that has him suspended in the upside-down BMW.
"Stop moving," Allan told the driver. Allan said he might hurt himself if he keeps moving.
The driver starts to struggle violently and shout. He curses.
"He's trying to grab something out of his pocket!" Allan screamed in the video.
There's a crack of repeated gunshots and Allan crawls out of the vehicle then collapses. For a long while, the camera is focused on blades of grass and earth. People are heard talking. Several grunting sounds on the video appeared to be coming from Allan.
Jason Dane Brown could face life in prison without parole if he's found guilty.
"We've been waiting a long time for this," Allen's mother, Laurie Lowry said before the trial began Monday morning.
Allan is the first Southport officer to be killed in the line of duty. He joined the mostly volunteer police force in 2011 and became its first full-time paid officer just months before his death. He is survived by a wife and young son.
Deputy Prosecutor Ross Anderson said Brown's eratic behavior began before the crash and continued after. He told the court in opening arguments that Brown should be found guilty of murder.
"It is Jason Brown and Jason Brown alone who was solely responsible for the senseless murder of Aaron Allan," Anderson said.
Defense attorney Denise Turner said in her opening statement that something happened in the crash to cause Brown to lose control of his senses when he fired those shots.
"Jason did not have the ability to form the intent that’s required. He was not aware of his actions," Turner said. "What happened that day was horrific, it was tragic, it was devastating, but it wasn’t murder."
Brown had been facing a possible death penalty in Allan's death, but Prosecutor Ryan Mears dropped the capital charges in exchange for Brown's agreement to waive his right to a jury trial.
Superior Court Judge Mark Stoner is hearing the evidence and will decide first if Brown is guilty of murder. If he is found guilty, Stoner will then decide if Brown should be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The trial is expected to last about two weeks.
RELATED | In her words: Wife of Lt. Allan remembers her husband | Hours before he was killed, Lt. Aaron Allan walked his son to his first day of kindergarten | Remembering Southport police Lt. Aaron Allan: A father, a husband & first to rush to those in need | Prosecutor to seek death penalty against Jason Brown, man accused of killing Lt. Aaron Allan | Prosecutors drop death penalty against man accused of killing Southport police officer | 'It's expensive:' This is how much a death penalty case costs in Indiana | 'Hero' nurse testifies ahead of trial for man accused of killing Southport Police Lt. Aaron Allan
Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at email@example.com or on Twitter: @vicryc.