Witness reads signed statement by Brian Brown, admitting to bank robbery


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Several police officers took the stand Wednesday in the attempted murder and robbery trial of Brian Brown.

Brown is accused of robbing Bank of America in east Utica in May and NBT Bank in Rome in July. He's also charged with shooting an Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy. Deputy Michael Burger was shot in the ankle and has what his supervisors have described as a potentially career-ending injury.

Retired New Hartford Police Investigator Steven Laymon took the stand and testified himself and other officers chasing suspect Brown through the backyards of homes on Miller Street in Utica and finally taking him into custody. Officer Laymon testified that he gave Brown a forearm to the head, knocking him down.

Brown's defense attorney questioned whether it was necessary to use such force against a suspect who stopped when told by police officers with guns drawn to stop. Laymon said he did what he felt was necessary to protect the community.

"I knew he was Mr. Brown," Laymon said. "I didn't know what he was capable of doing; he was being restrained to the point where he was no longer a threat. Once he's handcuffed, that's the case, he's no longer a threat."

Jurors say video tape of the area where the chase took place. They also saw a white shirt police say Brown was carrying when they were chasing him. Officers say after Brown dropped the shirt, they opened it up and found a handgun inside.

Wednesday afternoon, Oneida County Sheriff's Investigator Christopher Ferguson took the stand and read a four and a half page statement he took from Brown the day after the robbery. In the statement, which was compiled following a five and a half hour interview with police, Brown admits the NBT Bank robbery.

"I started yelling 'give me the money, give me the money. The teller stood there with a dumb look on her face and that's when I popped a round into the ceiling. I wanted to show them I meant business and I wanted them to give it up fast," read Investigator Ferguson from Brown's statement.

In the statement, Brown also admits shooting Oneida County Sheriff Deputy Michael Burger, but says he had escape, not murder, on his mind.

"I wasn't trying to kill him; I just wanted to get away."

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