Former Notre Dame assistant football coach and NFL star Corwin Brown, 42, learned his fate in court Tuesday.
In June, Brown plead “guilty, but mentally ill” to Confinement, a Class D Felony and Domestic Battery, a Class D Felony. The charges stemmed from a seven-hour standoff last August at Brown’s home in the 10000 block of Glynwater Ct. in Granger.
During that standoff, Brown beat his wife, held her hostage and shot himself before surrendering to a herd of SWAT team members stationed outside.
Now more than a year later, Brown, dressed in a khaki sport coat and black pants, stood in front of St. Joseph County Superior Court Judge Jane Woodward-Miller for his sentencing.
Brown’s wife Melissa, who said she does not consider herself a victim, told the court, “My husband was in a deteriorating state for a long time. He’s improving now and back at home with medication. Going to jail will not be the best thing for his family or his recovery process.”
That process allowed Brown to issue a quiet, tear-filled apology in which he addressed his attorney William Stanley, the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office, his wife and three children.
“I’m disappointed that I put you guys in this situation.”
Since his arrest, Brown has explored a variety of psychological medical assistance opportunities. The commitment to appointments and therapy was so rigorous, Brown temporarily moved in with extended family near Chicago, to be physically closer to his physicians.
In a phone interview with NewsCenter 16, South Bend defense attorney William Stanley said Brown is improving every day.
"Obviously there were some psychological problems that had probably been simmering for quite awhile and no one was aware of them. They only came to light because of this incident, but at least then they arose and the family and Corwin were able to address them and he's done a very good job of addressing them."
Following nearly 20 minutes of statements and extensive consultation, Judge Woodward-Miller sentenced Brown to a term of two years on both felony counts for a total of four years, with all four years being “suspended.” In essence, “suspended” means Brown will serve that time as a free man on probation.
“I don’t think there are many families that haven’t had a loved one with a mental illness. I am pleased to hear you are back with your family. There is a lot of help and hope out there and I am glad you’ve been able to see that light,” Judge Woodward-Miller told Brown.
In addition, Woodward-Miller ordered Brown to pay restitution to the St. Joseph County and Mishawaka Police Departments in the amounts of $4,470.05 and $3,762.53 respectively. The charges total the dollar amount spent on manpower and resources during the standoff.
As a final set of conditions, Brown will be subject to random drug and alcohol testing, cannot own a firearm and must continue with his schedule of medical treatment.
So was the plea deal a successful outcome for Mr. Brown? Stanley very firmly said yes.
“Prior to the reduction in charges, Brown could have faced 26 years in prison, now he faces zero. The most important people in his life are his family and I think the fact that he has been reunited with them on a continuous basis, has probably helped as much in his rehabilitation as the fact of his counseling and medication. I think it's being addressed in a very effective way.”