Georgetown man pleads guilty in death

shopkins@herald-leader.comJune 6, 2009 

GEORGETOWN — A Georgetown man whose sister's mummified body was found in the trunk of his car last year pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter Friday in Scott Circuit Court.

Timothy Brown, 30, is scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 7.

Prosecutors recommended that Brown serve 10 years in prison for the manslaughter charge in the death of Penny Michelle Brown, 31. He also pleaded guilty to abuse or neglect of an adult, abuse of a corpse, tampering with physical evidence, endangering the welfare of a minor and eight counts of theft of more than $300.

The recommended sentences for the other charges would run concurrently with the 10 years, which is the maximum sentence for second-degree manslaughter.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Keith Eardley said prosecutors added the manslaughter charge after further review of the case, including statements Brown made to police. They determined that he did not get the necessary medical attention for his sister, who used a wheelchair.

"We believe that he was responsible for her death when she was sick," Eardley said.

Investigators say the state medical examiner's office never determined Penny Brown's cause of death because her body was so badly decomposed.

Brown could have served a maximum of 20 years in prison if a jury had found him guilty on all the charges, Eardley said.

He said prosecutors are opposing probation in the case.

"This was a gruesome crime," he said. "He needs to be punished for what he did."

The investigation into Penny Brown's whereabouts started when social workers went to Timothy Brown's home in Georgetown to take custody of his 8-year-old son. They found the apartment filled with trash and human feces and there was a wheelchair folded in the living room area, according to court documents.

Timothy Brown would not let the social workers into his sister's room, and the child said he was also not allowed in the room.

The next day, on Sept. 18, social workers returned to the apartment and Timothy Brown said his sister was staying in Dry Ridge.

Social workers requested assistance from police and a missing persons report was filed for Penny Brown. Then police could not find Timothy Brown.

His 1998 Chevy Malibu was eventually found in St. Louis. Police towed the vehicle to Kentucky and found Penny Brown's body in the trunk on Oct. 24.

Police said Penny Brown, who had moved in with her brother after checking out of Georgetown Healthcare Center, had probably been dead about two years. Her body was wrapped in blankets and bagged with an industrial-grade plastic, possibly to contain the odor.

Brown was arrested Oct. 28 at a St. Louis library after police canvassed the area where his car was found. A staff member at the library recognized his picture.

Prosecutors said Brown did not report his sister's death in order to continue cashing her Social Security Income checks, which were between $600 and $700 a month.

Brown's attorney Joe Fooks and the defendant's relatives, who were in court Friday, declined to comment on the plea.

Shawntaye Hopkins covers Scott County. Reach her at (502) 867-1354.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service