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Thursday, December 2, 2010

JANESVILLE — Rock County teen looking to get high lose his life to a pocket full of painkillers?

Brown, 14, admitted the deed in court Thursday. She will spend five years in the custody of the state, up to three of those years incarcerated.

That’s the maximum sentence allowed in Wisconsin’s juvenile justice system.

State law required Brown be charged as an adult.

In court Thursday, both of Brown’s attorneys and prosecutors recommended the case be moved to juvenile court. Judge Michael Fitzpatrick agreed Thursday morning.

Brown, with a long history of juvenile offenses and drug and alcohol abuse, needs treatment that is not available in the adult system, the attorneys and judge agreed.

Thursday afternoon, Brown waived her right to a trial in juvenile court on the charge of first-degree reckless homicide. Judge Alan Bates ruled Brown should get the maximum penalty.

Assistant district attorney Dan Niedfeldt said he was satisfied the sentence holds Brown accountable while allowing her treatment for serious personal issues.

One of those issues is the fact that Ashlee saw her younger brother killed by a car as he rode his Big Wheel six years ago, said defense attorney Barbara Gerber.

Because of that, Brown’s family can relate to the pain felt by Alex Aiken’s family, Gerber said.

Brown understands what she did and knows she must pay the consequences, Gerber said.

Brown sat quietly for most of both hearings, wearing prison garb and ankle chains. Her only sounds were timid-sounding one-word responses to the judges’ questions.

“She wants to change her life,” Gerber said. “She wants to better herself, get treatment for drugs and alcohol and counseling for issues around the death of her brother.”

Bates said the sentence does what the Legislature has commanded the juvenile courts to do: protect the community, make violators accountable and help the violators get treatment to better their lives.

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