Brown avoids conviction on kidnapping, restraint charges
A jury convicted a Rome man involved in an October standoff with state police on Thursday following a two-day trial in the county Court of Common Pleas.
Steven M. Brown, 37, was found guilty of terroristic threats, a first-degree misdemeanor, and second-degree misdemeanor simple assault and reckless endangerment related to the Oct. 23 standoff at Brown's North Rome Road residence, according to district attorney Dan Barrett.
The jury found Brown not guilty of a first-degree felony kidnapping charge and a first-degree misdemeanor charge of unlawful restraint, Barrett said.
The jury also found Brown guilty of two counts of attempted witness intimidation and one count of attempted obstruction of law enforcement in relation to phone calls he made to the kidnapping victim, 43-year-old Melissa Thompson of Rome, to ask her to change her story or offer false testimony.
In addition, Brown was convicted of simple assault and harassment for an Oct. 6 incident in which he punched Thompson in the nose.
The three sets of charges were consolidated under one trial upon request from the district attorney's office, according to information filed in county court.
The 11-man, one-woman jury deliberated for about 90 minutes before delivering a verdict Thursday afternoon, Barrett said.
The jury heard testimony from Thompson, three state troopers and two employees of the Dandy Mini Mart in Rome Borough. Thompson had told the employees she was being held against her will at about 9:30 a.m. Oct. 23.
Troopers Jeffrey Sredenschek, Miranda Musick and Cpl. Normal Strauss III testified regarding the incident and the evidence seized from the North Rome Road home where Brown barricaded himself for 12 hours, including two loaded handguns and several long arms.
The jury learned that Brown was removed from the home by members of the state police Special Emergency Response Team after he consumed a number of prescription pills that had been prescribed to Thompson, Barrett said. Thompson also testified that she and Brown had inhaled bath salts prior to the incident.
Brown, represented by attorney Arthur Agnellino of Sayre, did not testify. The defense called Thompson and Sredenschek to the stand regarding particular aspects of the standoff.
The defense argued that the kidnapping and unlawful restraint charges were not proven beyond a reasonable doubt because Thompson had passed up opportunities to leave the home before escaping later that morning, Barrett said.
The jury also heard recorded phone calls Brown made from the BCCF to Thompson in which he asked her to change her version of the events of the standoff. Pete Quattrini, deputy warden of the BCCF, testified regarding the recorded calls.
Brown will be held at the Bradford County Correctional Facility pending sentencing, Barrett said. A sentencing date had not been scheduled as of Thursday.
Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: email@example.com.