published Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Chattanooga man re-sentenced two decades-old murders

  • photo
    Fredrick Brown walks into court Tuesday for the first of two new trials in Judge Barry Steelman's courtroom. Brown pleaded guilty to two murders about 20 years ago, but won new trials over an issue with sentencing.
    Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A 38-year-old Chattanooga man behind bars since 1992 was re-sentenced to six years this morning after a jury in February found him guilty of manslaughter instead of murder.

Fredrick Lemar Brown Jr. also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the other killing and received 25 years. The state probation and parole board will review his case to see when he’s eligible for parole. Brown has served nearly 20 years in state prison.

Brown lodged a risky appeal years ago to fight his sentencing on two killings which led to a prison term of two life terms with parole eligibility after 36 years.

In 1993, Brown had pleaded guilty to shooting Samuel Scott in 1991; he later pleaded guilty to the killing of Corey Strickland while free on bond from the Scott killing.

As part of his plea deal at the time the judge sentenced Brown to two life terms to run together. Life was a 60-year sentence with parole eligibility at 36 years.

But state law didn’t allow concurrent sentencing for crimes comitted while on bond. Brown appealed that decision under the sentencing laws, a risky move since he could face new trials in both cases and received consecutive sentences for both, effectively doubling his time in prison.

At the end of a four-day trial in February, a jury found him guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the Scott death. Jurors are not allowed under most circumstances to know of previous guilty pleas or a defendant’s criminal history to ensure a fair trial.

For more see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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