by April Scheinoha
On Monday, Dec. 12, a Thief River Falls man was sentenced to 90 months in prison for shooting another man at a 2015 party in rural Pennington County.
Trevor Lee Brown, 24, had earlier pled guilty to a felony charge of first degree assault. Felony charges of second degree attempted murder and reckless discharge of a firearm have been dismissed. For the first degree assault charge, Brown was given credit for 491 days served.
On Aug. 9, 2015, Brown and three friends arrived uninvited at a party at the rural Plummer home of Bob and Darlene Houle. After a fight involving other people, he shot a round into the air. Ryan Houle then tackled him. The two men fought over the gun. Brown shot Ryan Houle twice in the chest, causing a collapsed lung. One of the shots also injured Houle’s left hand. He was hospitalized for 31 days at Sanford Hospital in Fargo, N.D.
Brown fled the scene and was arrested at a friend’s home in Goodridge about 14 hours after the shooting. He threw the pistol out of the vehicle after leaving the party. The two men didn’t know each other prior to the incident.
When entering his plea, Brown testified he was intoxicated and couldn’t recall some details of the incident. Brown said he had no plans to kill anyone.
During the sentencing hearing Monday, Brown’s attorney, Blair Nelson, asked for a downward departure. He noted that Houle, not Brown, was the aggressor in the incident. Referring to the time Brown has already spent behind bars, Nelson sought a probationary sentence.
Kristin Hanson, assistant Pennington County attorney, requested the maximum sentence of 103 months in prison per Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines. She noted that Brown, not Houle, was the aggressor. Hanson indicated that Houle was defending himself and others.
Judge Kurt Marben then ruled there was no justification for a downward departure, noting that Brown’s conduct nearly resulted in Houle’s death.
More information will appear in the next edition of The Times.