An Indianapolis man accused of fatally shooting a police officer who was trying to help him following a car crash could face the death penalty if he's convicted in the officer's slaying, a prosecutor said Wednesday after the suspect made his first court appearance.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said his office will decide within about six weeks whether to pursue capital punishment or life in prison without parole for Jason D. Brown, who faces one felony murder count in the July 27 killing of Southport police Lt. Aaron Allan.
He said his staff will discuss that with Allan's family, but is giving them time to grieve for the officer, whose funeral was Saturday.
"We have a police officer who lost his life while trying to assist someone," Curry said.
Brown was dangling upside down in his overturned car, his seatbelt engaged, following a crash when he suddenly became agitated as Allan approached to help him and opened fire, according to court documents.
Allan, a 38-year-old father of two, suffered 11 gunshot wounds and died a short time later. He was a six-year veteran of the police department in Southport, a municipality on Indianapolis' south side.
Brown, 28, was hospitalized after two other officers opened fire on him following Allan's shooting, leaving him with gunshot wounds to the face, left arm and right clavicle.
Brown's facial wounds were visible as deputies brought him into court Wednesday for his initial hearing on the murder charge and a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge stemming from marijuana officers said they found in his crashed car.
Marion Superior Court Judge Sheila Carlisle entered a not guilty plea on Brown's behalf and asked him several questions, including whether he understood the charges and the penalties he could face. He answered each with "yes, ma'am" or "yes" during the brief hearing.
Brown's attorney, Denise Turner, did not return a message left Wednesday seeking comment on the charges her client faces.
Authorities have not disclosed a possible motive in Allan's killing.
Curry said he could not discuss matters that were not addressed in court documents, but he said his office has requested Brown's hospital records, including blood and toxicology results, and they might shed light on the circumstances of Allan's killing.
A man who was a passenger in Brown's car told officers he and Brown had just left a gas station when Brown inexplicably began driving at a high rate of speed, court documents state. Brown then began maneuvering around cars and his vehicle drove over a median, struck a curb and overturned in the yard in front of a home. Brown was hanging upside down inside, secured by his seatbelt.
The passenger was outside the overturned car, sitting on the grass, when the shooting occurred.