SOUTHPORT, IN – The family of a Southport Police Lieutenant who was shot and killed is upset that prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty in this case.
Southport police Lieutenant Aaron Allan was shot and killed in 2017 allegedly by Jason Brown while he was on the scene of a traffic crash. The offense was grievous enough that the prosecuting attorney at the time, Terry Curry, agreed that the death penalty was appropriate. However, five years later the death penalty has been taken off the table.
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The current Marion County Prosecutor, in this case, Ryan Mears, made a deal with Brown’s attorneys that they would take the death penalty off the table if he would agree to waive his right to a jury trial.
The family said that decision was made because of mistakes that were committed on the part of Brown’s attorney which should not have presented an issue with the prosecution.
Laurie Lowry, Lieutenant Allan’s mother, alleges that Mears told her that there was no other option but to remove the death penalty as an option. She said:
“We were made to take the death penalty off the table because of the mistakes that were made by the other attorney. I asked why should we have to pay for those mistakes? That’s not what I want.
I was told what kind of jury would we be able to pick from in Marion County? There’s a lot of people here in Marion County that would be great jurors.”
Cory Allan, Lieutenant Allan’s brother, also is unhappy with the choice. He said:
“I think the guy [Brown] should suffer the same way my brother suffered…We don’t want to cut him a deal because Aaron didn’t get a deal. He didn’t get a choice.”
“I don’t get any more hugs, or ‘I love yous’ or phone calls, or that type of stuff. He has a son that will never see his dad again, or to grow up even with a father.”
While Lowry claims there were errors made by another attorney, there is very little information that reveals what that mistake may be.
The lieutenant was killed after he had responded to a vehicle crash on July 27, 2017. When officers arrived on the scene, they learned that the vehicle, allegedly driven by Brown, had been driving at a high rate of speed before flipping.
When Lieutenant Allan got to the vehicle, Brown was allegedly tangled up in the seat belt and was starting to panic. Brown was told to calm down while the Lieutenant crawled inside the car to remove the passenger.
When Lieutenant Allan entered the vehicle, Brown allegedly pulled a gun and began shooting him. Lieutenant Allan attempted to crawl to safety as Brown allegedly continued shooting him.
Other officers who were on scene returned fire, striking Brown in the face and the neck. Lieutenant Allan was rushed to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.
Lieutenant Allan was an Air Force veteran and had served with the Southport Police Department for six years. In total, Lieutenant Allan served in law enforcement for twenty years. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
The illegal alien, Wilburn Ernesto Martinez-Guzman, had been charged with the murders of 56-year-old Connie Koontz, 74-year-old Sophia Renken, 81-year-old Gerald David, and his 80-year-old wife, Sharon David, between a meth-induced violent crime spree from January 10th through the 15th in two different counties.
Prosecutors believed that Martinez-Guzman committed the murders while stealing property to sell for his meth addiction.
Prosecutors pushed for the death penalty in the case which was argued against by his defense attorney.
His defense attorney argued that Martinez-Guzman was mentally unstable, therefore, the death penalty would be viewed as cruel and unusual punishment as he could not understand the gravity of what he had done.
Instead of pursuing the death penalty, which would have drug the case on potentially for years, the Washoe County District Attorney, Chris Hicks, and Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson, instead offered a plea deal.
Martinez-Guzman would plead guilty in the murders and they would not pursue the death penalty.
Of course, Martinez-Guzman’s defense attorney believed that this was something that was fair and ultimately had his client accept the plea deal. Under the terms of the agreement, not only does he admit that he murdered the four Americans, but he also accepted that he will receive life in prison as his sentence.
Martinez-Guzman plead guilty to first-degree murder with a deadly weapon in the case with Koontz and Renken in Douglas County. He also plead guilty to the same charges on October 21st for the shooting deaths of Gerald and the David’s which happened in Washoe County.
Both Hicks and Jackson said that the plea deal was one they accepted, not only to prevent the case from being drawn out but because the family members of the victims had asked for it for the same reason. Jackson said:
“Today was the next step in seeking justice for the equally heinous crimes that Martinez-Guzman committed in Douglas County. Today was also about honoring and respecting the collective desires of all of the victims’ families in bringing finality to these cases.”
Hicks also spoke about the plea agreement during a press conference. He said:
“The plea entered today is the first domino to fall in a global resolution that will secure justice for the victims and finality for their loved ones.
As a result of his pleas, there will not be decades of appeals that become common in death penalty litigation. Most importantly, this resolution brings finality and peace of mind to the family members.”
Martinez-Guzman was sentenced to four consecutive life terms in prison without the possibility of parole.
Additionally, he also faces a minimum of 214 years in prison for multiple burglaries, thefts, weapons, and possession of stolen property charges that he still has pending under the plea agreement.
Martinez-Guzman worked as a landscaper for a company in the two different counties which is how police believe that he found his victims. His spree started in January of 2019 after he had stolen a gun from the David’s home.
Martinez-Guzman went on to rob the David’s for drug money and then later killed the pair inside of their home. Martinez-Guzman then shot and killed Koontz and Renken in separate attacks in their homes in Gardnerville.
Larry David, who is the son of Gerald and the stepson of Sharon, was thankful for the quick resolution in the murder cases against Martinez-Guzman. He said:
“While no verdict will ever bring healing from the way in which these loved ones were taken from us, as a family, we trust that God has carried us and He will continue to go before us.”
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