Judge delays sentencing of Jayona Brown in death of MNPD Officer John Anderson

Jayona Brown Hearing_frame_37594.jpeg
Posted at 11:11 AM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 18:01:35-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A judge delayed the sentencing of Jayona Brown, the teenage driver who pleaded guilty to charges in the death of Metro Nashville Police Officer John Anderson, following her sentencing hearing on Thursday.

Brown took the stand during Thursday's sentencing hearing, explaining why she decided to pleaded guilty to the charges against her.

"I’m taking responsibility for my actions. I knew it was wrong, and I just don’t want to blame anyone else for it," she said.

In July, 18-year-old Brown pleaded guilty to all charges, including vehicular homicide, three months after a juvenile court judge ruled she would be charged as an adult.

Anderson was killed in an early-morning fiery crash on the Fourth of July in 2019. At the time of the crash, Brown was 17 years old.

Investigators said Brown was behind the wheel of a Ford Fusion when she was fleeing from police for a possible traffic stop and sped through the flashing red lights at the intersection. She crashed into Anderson's patrol cruiser and slammed it into a light pole. Anderson was traveling from Woodland Street on his way to assist another officer on the interstate.

Brown faces three to six years each for aggravated assault and vehicular homicide charges, two to four years for evading arrest and six months for driving with a suspended license.

Judge Steve Dozier listened to witnesses for the sentencing phase, after Jayona Brown pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, aggravated assault, evading arrest and driving on a suspended license.

He heard from some of Brown’s social workers, and her mother, who apologized to Anderson’s family on behalf of Brown. But some of the most emotional testimony came from the mother of Officer Anderson, who asked the judge to sentence Jayona Brown to the longest time behind bars possible.

"There is no justice in this situation. Justice would have been if John lived and the defendant died. So all I ask is you delay her next criminal act, her next homicide, her next life-altering poor decision, by sentencing her to the maximum amount of time allowed by law, and that her time be served consecutively," said Jennifer Anderson.

Judge Dozier said he'd planned to make a ruling during Thursday's hearing after months of reviewing the case, but that didn't happen.

"I had every intention of ruling today...until these issues came up," Judge Dozier said as he picked up the several stacks of new filings made by prosecutors.

He said he will issue an order within a week.