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Grafton driver 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. Valley News — Joseph Ressler

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/26/2019 9:16:51 PM
Modified: 7/26/2019 9:16:43 PM

NORTH HAVERHILL — A Grafton Superior Court judge earlier this week for the second time denied a 38-year-old Grafton man’s request to be released pending trial on charges related to a “road rage” shooting and to have his case dismissed.

Joseph Brown, through his attorney Penny Dean, filed motions on July 11 to have his bail reconsidered and the case thrown out, but Judge Peter Bornstein rejected the arguments, according to an order filed in the North Haverhill courthouse on Tuesday.

Brown contended the court “misapprehended the law in this matter” and is only holding him without bail because of allegations the state has made in court filings about Brown having a history of aggression on New Hampshire roadways, including at least four incidents of road rage within three weeks of the shooting on Route 4 in Grafton in April.

The state also hasn’t provided the defense with all evidence that could be exculpatory to Brown in a timely fashion, and therefore his case should be dismissed, Dean alleged in the court filings, which followed a hearing in late-June where Bornstein denied the defense’s first motions for bail and dismissal.

“Having considered the parties’ arguments and the applicable law, the court concludes that it has not overlooked or misapprehended any point of the law or fact with respect to either motion,” Bornstein wrote. “Accordingly, the court denies both of the defendant’s motions.”

Brown, who is claiming self-defense, allegedly shot 46-year-old Jason Marandos during an incident that started as they were both driving on Route 4 near the intersection with Lower Meadow Road on April 29, prosecutors say.

Brown has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree assault with a firearm and reckless conduct with a deadly weapon.

Brown says his firing of the gun was lawful and necessary to stop Marandos from attacking him, who the state has said punched Brown at the outset of the altercation.

However, prosecutors say the confrontation between the two men started when Brown, driving a silver Ford Flex, allegedly tailgated Marandos’ Ford Escape and then drove around him, braked and caused a crash, something his public defender, Jamie Brooks, at the time disputed.

Both men exited their vehicles and “scuffled” before separating, Assistant Grafton County Attorney Mariana Pastore said at Brown’s arraignment in late April. Brown then pulled out a pistol and shot Marandos in the abdomen, police said.

Marandos survived the shooting.

Brown was traveling that day with his three children, and wrote in a court filing that he feared what Marandos may continue to do to him and possibly to his children; Marandos was traveling with his wife, Heidi, and their son.

The situation prosecutors say unfolded on Route 4 is not atypical behavior for Brown, according to their objection to the defense’s motion to dismiss filed in mid-June.

The investigation into this case has uncovered “SEVEN other instances of road rage and aggression” by Brown that have “chilling similarity to that he unleashed on the victim,” Pastore wrote in the filing.

At least four of the incidents happened within weeks of Brown’s alleged road rage and assault on Marandos, the document said.

On April 10, April 13 and April 27, other motorists — all who were driving on Route 4 — made reports that a man driving a silver Ford drove erratically and then stopped suddenly in front of their vehicles.

At least one of those motorists took a picture of the plate, and it matched Brown’s, according to the filing.

A similar situation happened to another motorist on April 26 on the Everett Turnpike, when a driver with a similar license plate to Brown’s (reported to be one number off) engaged in road rage and then slammed on his brakes, according to the state’s filing.

One of Brown’s neighbors “a few months prior to June 4” also made a report that Brown engaged in like behavior, slamming on his brakes after the neighbor let him pass him on Route 4, the filing said.

On Oct. 13, 2018, on Route 4, and on July 16, 2017, also on Route 4, two other motorists said a vehicle with a license plate matching or close to Brown’s engaged in the same behavior, the document said.

Dean, Brown’s attorney, questioned the validity of the claims, and said she lacks information from the state to fully vet them, according to court documents.

“Clearly the reasons for Mr. Brown’s continued detention is the uncharged motor vehicle allegations made by the state,” Dean wrote in the motion to reconsider bail filed on July 11. “Noteworthy is that (the) state has implicitly admitted that Mr. Brown has never had his driver license suspended.”

Reached on Friday, Dean said she couldn’t comment on the case.

Brown is scheduled to appear next in Grafton Superior Court on Aug. 28 for a final pretrial hearing.

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




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