Retired Conn. firefighter convicted of shooting man
Donald Brown’s claim of self defense was rejected in the shooting of a man two years ago over a dispute about house renovations.
By David Owens
The Hartford Courant
HARTFORD, Conn. — A Hartford jury on Wednesday rejected Donald Brown’s claim of self defense and convicted him of first-degree assault in the shooting of a man two years ago over a dispute about house renovations.
Brown, 56, faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 5.
Judge Frank M. D’Addabbo Jr. raised Brown’s bail by $500,000 and judicial marshals took him into custody. The judge acknowledged Brown’s life of service and lack of a criminal record, but said jurors convicted him of assault and he no longer enjoyed a presumption of innocence.
Defense attorney Donald Freeman urged the judge to not increase Brown’s bail, arguing that Brown had spent a career running into burning buildings and could be relied upn to appear for his sentencing. Freeman said Brown can handle whatever the sentence the judge determines is appropriate.
Jurors took about 2½ hours to reach their verdict.
Freeman argued that Brown shot Lascelles Reid, 33, in self defense and tried to convince jurors that Reid was a man prone to violence and that Brown justifiably feared he would be killed or seriously injured when he shot Reid.
Prosecutor Robin Krawczyk countered that Reid was unarmed and that Brown had an obligation to retreat rather than shoot. She also argued that Brown’s claim that he feared for his life or great bodily harm were not justified. She argued to jurors that Brown shot Reid because he was angry.
On April 24, 2015, the two men were seated in Brown’s car and began to argue about renovations underway at a house Brown owns at 131 Hebron St. Brown claimed Reid became violent and assaulted him. Reid said the two tussled after the argument grew heated.
Brown got out of the car first and pulled his licensed handgun and shot Reid, according to testimony. Reid suffered a serious wound to the abdomen and would have died but for emergency surgery at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, a trauma surgeon testified.
Reid has a civil suit pending against Brown and has offered to settle it for $300,000.
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