Expert: ‘A profound lack of treatment’ for convicted killer Brandon Brown | News


SUNBURY — A forensic psychiatrist said Friday he could not offer an opinion on how convicted killer Brandon Brown would react if he was in the community again.

Dr Clarence Watson, director of the Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program at the University of Pennsylvania, testified in Northumberland County Court as the only defense witness on day two of the re-sentence hearing for Brown, 36. . Brown was sentenced to 17 years to life in prison in 2003 for the rape and murder of 6-year-old Jasmine Stoud.

Brown had “a profound lack of treatment”, including sex offender treatment, which was recommended by a number of experts. Brown would have to complete sex offender treatment before being considered for parole, Watson said.

“It’s premature to say one way or the other” if Brown does it again, Watson said. “We have no other indicator of what he would be like in an unstructured setting (outside of prison).”

Watson said, “I wouldn’t be able to offer an opinion” without Brown completing the treatment.

Presiding Judge Charles Saylor did not issue an opinion on Friday. He said he would review exhibits and testimony before setting a court date for Brown to be re-sentenced.

Brown was 15 when he kidnapped, raped and killed his 6-year-old neighbor in Coal Township in 2001. Jasmine’s body was found on August 12, 2001, along an old mining road near her home in Shamokin. His skull had been fractured in several places by a rock found nearby. Jasmine’s DNA was detected on Brown’s body and clothing.

He was sentenced as an adult to a life sentence for first-degree homicide and a consecutive sentence of 17 to 70 years for two counts of kidnapping and rape. He is being held at SCI-Forest in Marienville, Forest County.

Watson said he reviewed Brown’s records from his teenage years to the present day. He last year met Brown via Zoom twice on May 24 and June 15.

Brown “functions relatively well” in a correctional setting without exhibiting psychiatric symptoms. He appeared to be “psychiatrically stable” and was able to “engage logically and coherently” without “any cognitive issues”, Watson said.

While Brown expressed remorse, Watson said he was “unable to demonstrate any meaningful insight into his behavior” and “didn’t understand why what happened happened.” He could not identify any triggers or strategies for coping with stressors in the future.

Watson said it’s no surprise that Brown isn’t equipped to better understand his past actions and behaviors because he hasn’t worked. It was unclear if Brown had chosen not to engage in treatment over the past 20 years, but Watson noted that Brown had been on waiting lists for specific types of treatment.

Defense attorney Jim Best, of Sunbury, submitted a packet of school certificates that Brown completed between 2004 and 2019.

Assistant District Attorney Robyn Zenzinger said the Commonwealth’s position on Brown’s sentencing has not changed based on the nature of the crime and community safety.

The Post-Conviction Relief Act appeal is made possible by a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gives Brown and more than 2,100 other inmates who committed murders as teenagers the opportunity to apply for parole or a new sentence. The Supreme Court ruling expanded on a 2012 ruling involving a 14-year-old boy who said mandatory life sentences without parole for minors were unconstitutional and constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Until this decision, it was unclear whether the decision was retroactive to minors already serving a life sentence.

Brown was not in court on Friday. Saylor said he would set a new sentencing date and issue a transportation order for Brown to be in court.


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