MARION COUNTY — A Marion County jury deliberated for just over an hour Thursday before returning guilty verdicts in a case charging a 33-year-old Centralia man with shooting another man in the backyard of his home on New Year’s Day.
Bart Brown was remanded back to the Marion County Jail without bond, pending an October 23 sentencing date. He was found guilty of Class X felony aggravated battery with the discharge of a firearm, which is punishable by between 6 and 30 years in prison and requires 85 percent of the sentence to be served.
Brown was also convicted of Class 2 felonies for possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of ammunition by a felon. Each count is punishable by between 3 and 14 years in prison but is day-for-day eligible.
A fourth charge of Class 1 felony aggravated discharge of a firearm was the lesser and included of the Class X charge and the jury opted to convict on the more serious charge.
Judge Marc Kelly ordered a pre-sentencing report to be completed by probation services before sentencing.
Brown turned himself in the day after shooting Justin McMath in the shoulder with a shotgun while he was in the backyard of Brown’s Razback Street home. McMath was initially transported to SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia before being transferred to a St. Louis area hospital. He recovered and testified Tuesday in the jury trial that began Monday with jury selection.
The defense attempted to enter video clips into evidence that reportedly showed McMath threatening to kill Brown and burn down his home. While the court allowed some video clips to be entered, others were excluded as the court had already ruled them inadmissible because the defense had not submitted the recordings in their entirety.
State’s Attorney Bill Milner said he’s pleased with the jury’s verdicts and praised Assistant State’s Attorney Melissa Doran, saying she “did a great job” prosecuting the case.