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Man charged in Grafton ‘road rage’ shooting pleads not guilty, is held without bail

  • Sitting with his attorney Jamie Brooks, Joseph A. Brown, left, of Grafton, N.H., is arraigned on a first-degree assault charge following a “road rage” shooting along Route 4 in Grafton. Brown pleaded not guilty to the allegations in Grafton Superior Court on April 30, 2019, in North Haverhill, N.H., and was ordered to be held without bail. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Assistant Grafton County Attorney Mariana Pastore argues that Joseph A. Brown is a threat to the public during his arraignment in Grafton Superior Court in North Haverhill, N.H., on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Brown pleaded not guilty to the allegations of two first-degree assault charges following a “road rage” shooting along Route 4 in Grafton, N.H., and he was ordered to be held without bail. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Elmer and Fern Brown, of Wells, Maine, leave the arraignment of their son Joseph A. Brown in Grafton Superior Court in North Haverhill, N.H., on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Brown pleaded not guilty to the allegations of two first-degree assault charges following a “road rage” shooting along Route 4 in Grafton, N.H., and he was ordered to be held without bail. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 30, 2019

NORTH HAVERHILL — A 38-year-old Grafton man charged with two counts of first-degree assault in a “road rage” shooting along Route 4 pleaded not guilty to the allegations on Tuesday.

Grafton Superior Court Judge Lawrence MacLeod ordered Joseph A. Brown held without bail during his arraignment, saying he thinks Brown “presents a threat to the public.”

“If self-defense is what is claimed, it may not have been proportional to what was happening at the time,” MacLeod said in court.

Brown is accused of shooting 46-year-old Jason Marandos on Route 4 near Lower Meadow Road on Monday afternoon following a confrontation that started when Brown allegedly tailgated Marandos’ vehicle and then drove around him, braked and caused a minor collision, Assistant Grafton County Attorney Mariana Pastore said in court.

Both men exited their vehicles and Marandos allegedly punched Brown and “the two scuffled” before separating, she said. It was then that Brown “pulled a firearm out of his pants and discharged it into Mr. Marandos’ abdomen,” Pastore told the judge.

Marandos, who was driving westbound with his wife, Heidi, and son at the time, was wounded and required surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, authorities said. He is expected to survive. A DHMC spokesman on Tuesday night said he couldn’t provide an updated condition for Marandos. According to his Facebook page, he lives in Grafton and works as a special education paraeducator.

“While the victim may have taken the first (swing) at the defendant, they had separated,” Pastore said while making her case to have Brown held without bail. “(He then) discharged it into the victim’s gut.”

Brown’s attorney, Jamie Brooks, disputed the state’s characterization of how the collision took place and said “this will be a self-defense case.”

He called Marandos a “substantially larger individual” than Brown, who stands 5 feet, 4 inches tall. Brooks disputed the state’s assertion that Brown didn’t have any cuts or bruises to his face.

“My client has a chipped tooth,” Brooks said, adding that the idea that “the fighting just magically ended” is “self-serving.”

Brown has no prior criminal record and is the sole provider for his three children, who were in his vehicle at the time of the shooting, Brooks said. Brown’s parents, Elmer and Fern Brown, of Wells, Maine, attended the hearing.

Pastore said she was aware that Brown has children. Their mother died six years ago, Brooks said.

“While I feel for them, maybe he should have thought of them before he discharged a weapon,” Pastore said.

Both attorneys discussed other cases to help make their bail arguments, with Pastore raising the fact that Gage Young, a Lebanon man accused of randomly shooting a visiting college student near the Dartmouth College campus, is being held without bail pending trial.

Brooks referenced two Sullivan County cases in which both men were released on bail, including Timothy Hale, who is accused of accidentally shooting a 2-year-old child, and Jordan Richardson, who allegedly shot a 17-year-old during a drug deal.

New Hampshire State Police investigated the Grafton shooting, which unfolded around 3:15 p.m. on Monday. Police first learned of the incident when another motorist reported it to the Grafton Police Department, according to an affidavit written by Trooper Amanda Johnson.

When Officer Mitchell Briggs arrived on scene, Brown approached him with his hands in the air and said he shot Marandos “because he had to,” Johnson said in her affidavit.

Briggs placed Brown into protective custody and retrieved a pistol from Brown’s pocket, the document states.

Briggs then found Marandos “slumped in front of his vehicle” with a gunshot wound to his abdomen, Johnson wrote.

Police interviewed Heidi Marandos, who told police she was riding westbound in the car with her husband when he was angered by another motorist.

“The next thing she recalled, her husband slammed on the brakes and they collided with the vehicle in front of them,” she told police, according to the affidavit.

The men exited and got into a verbal and physical altercation, which stopped when she got out of the vehicle and told them to, the affidavit states. Brown then pulled out a gun and shot Marandos from a distance of about 5 feet, Heidi Marandos said, according to the affidavit.

Police referred to the situation as a “road rage” incident in a Tuesday morning news release.

After the arraignment, Grafton County Attorney Marcie Hornick declined to say whether the two men knew each other before the confrontation, as did Brooks, Brown’s public defender.

The date of Brown’s next hearing wasn’t immediately available.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.