MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — A central Indiana man serving a 40-year sentence for killing a man he said sexually molested him and his late brother as children is seeking early release from prison, saying he’s turned his life around behind bars.
Jeremiah D. Brown, 33, and his attorney urged a Delaware Circuit Court judge in Muncie this week to modify his sentence to allow him to leave prison. Testimony indicated Brown has earned two college degrees while incarcerated, participated in numerous training and counseling programs and counseled other young offenders.
“I’d like to say I’m not the young troubled individual I was once,” Brown told Judge Thomas Cannon Jr. “I believe the person I am today has a lot more to offer.”
Brown pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in March 2005 and was sentenced to 40 years for fatally stabbing 54-year-old James Seldomridge in the victim’s apartment, The Star Press reported.
During his trial, Brown said Seldomridge was his father’s longtime drinking buddy and that he had molested him and his brother as children.
Brown was 21 when he killed Seldomridge in March 2004, about a week after Brown’s 18-year-old brother took his own life. Brown testified that his brother’s death had sent him into a rage.
He told the judge at Tuesday’s hearing that he’s “very sorry and ashamed” for having caused Seldomridge’s death.
“Have you forgiven him?” Cannon asked Brown.
“Yes,” Brown said, quietly, after a few seconds.
Brown’s attorney, Don Dunnuck, said the criminal justice system had affected his client “in a positive way.”
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Judi Calhoun, who participated in Brown’s 2005 prosecution, said the defendant “should be proud of what you accomplished.”
“Not everyone takes advantage of these programs,” she added.
The judge told Brown his list of accomplishments while in prison was likely “the most impressive” he had seen from an inmate seeking a sentence reduction.
“I think you’ve made me a believer,” he said. “Don’t make me regret it.”
However, Cannon said he would not take formal action in the case until he determines whether Brown could be placed on electronic home detention in Marion County, where the inmate intends to live with his aunt.