Archived Story

Man chokes cop, gets prison

Published 11:03am Friday, December 7, 2012

CASSOPOLIS — A suicidal 24-year-old man was sentenced to prison Friday for choking an Edwardsburg police officer nearly to death while under the influence of prescription medication and alcohol in October.

Cass County Circuit Court Judge Michael Dodge sentenced Matthew Brown, of Edwardsburg, to 18 months in the Michigan Department of Corrections after Brown pleaded no contest in October to one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, and one count of resisting and obstructing an officer causing injury.

The charges stem from Brown’s actions on July 31 when emergency personnel responded to a 911 call at his residence on Redfield Road in Edwardsburg.

The court heard Brown’s grandfather called 911 because Brown had taken an entire bottle of anti-depressant medication while consuming alcohol.

When an Edwardsburg police officer arrived, Brown became combative and screamed for the officer to shoot him. When the officer refused, Brown drove the officer off a porch, through a picket fence and into a bush where he began choking the officer to the point where the officer became light headed and fearful for his safety. A paramedic eventually pulled Brown off the officer.

“It is very possible you could’ve choked the officer to death in this state you were in,” Dodge said.

Defense attorney Mark Herman said Brown is suffering from clinical depression due to the recent death of an uncle, grandmother and father. Herman said Brown was intending to commit suicide the day of the incident.

“I am glad he is sitting here in front of you for sentencing because his life was spiraling out of control,” Herman said. “If he hadn’t been in custody the last four months, he may be dead.”

Dodge said determining an appropriate sentence was extremely difficult due to Brown’s mental state, lack of significant prior criminal record and the violent nature of the offense.

Sentencing guidelines were 10 to 23 months for the assault charge. Brown gets credit for 123 days served. Restitution in the form of medical bills remains to be determined.

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