Kansas undersheriff faces trial in fatal beanbag shooting
This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
The sheriff of Muskogee County, Oklahoma, faced a trial starting this morning as the county’s attorney called for his dismissal.
A district judge will decide whether the former sheriff, Michael Brown, will be forced to stand trial for voluntary manslaughter in the death of an unarmed inmate in November 2014.
On the first day of trial, Judge Dan Johnson will decide whether Brown should be required to stand trial for capital murder.
The 47-year-old Brown has repeatedly pleaded guilty in the case, saying he accidentally killed 43-year-old Larry Longenecker. Brown was a corrections officer at the Muskogee County jail.
Brown is accused of letting Longenecker walk out of a holding cell in November 2014 after the inmate refused to be questioned. Brown claims Longenecker lunged toward him, but he didn’t have time to react.
The sheriff, who has pleaded not guilty, says he was justified in shooting the inmate, who had a history of disciplinary issues.
“I don’t know how he got loose,” Brown told news reporters the day of the shooting.
“I don’t know,” Brown said later as he stood his ground against reporters, pointing his finger in their direction.
The sheriff could face up to five years in prison if convicted.
Brown’s attorney released a statement calling the trial a “political sideshow” that was brought on by the Oklahoma legislature in an attempt to divert attention from a federal corruption case.
“We are not about to make this case a circus, and we are not going to waste our people’s time by playing word games,” the attorney, Michael Johnson, said.
“This is a case that does not have any merit to it whatsoever.”
This post has been corrected.