WATERTOWN — A state appellate court Friday upheld the murder conviction of a Philadelphia man who took part in a 2017 armed robbery in which a town of Pamelia man was fatally shot.
Sammy L. Brown, 28, is serving a 25-year to life sentence at Auburn Correctional Facility after being convicted at trial in Jefferson County Court in July 2018 of second-degree murder and multiple other counts on connection with the May 18, 2017, slaying of Tyler J. Johnson, 20.
He had been accused, along with four others, of going to Mr. Johnson’s home at 28764 Route 37 and to rob him of drugs and money. Trial testimony revealed the Brown had fired the fatal shot.
Brown appealed his conviction to the state Appellate Division, Fourth Department, maintaining that County Court was required to suppress several statements he made to police during a July 13, 2017, interview because he had invoked his right to counsel the prior day.
The appellate court ruled that Brown was not in legal custody on the previous day and that he was repeatedly advised of his rights on July 13, including twice before he voluntarily resumed speaking with investigators. Moreover, the court found that after an overnight break in questioning between the 12th and 13th, Brown initiated the conversation with police to ask about taking a polygraph examination and provided his own transportation to the investigator’s office.
“Consequently, we conclude that the court properly determined that defendant withdrew his assertion of his right to counsel,” the appellate judges wrote.
The court further rejected Brown’s arguments that, among other things, he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that his conviction was not against the weight of the evidence presented at trial.