June 20, 2018
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Bangor man charged in death of infant son to remain in jail until judge reviews bail conditions

Linda Coan Coan | BDN
Linda Coan Coan | BDN
Dustin Brown, 18, makes his initial court appearance at the Penobscot Judicial Center in January.
By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — A local man charged with manslaughter in the death of his 3-month-old son last year will remain in jail until at least next week, when a judge has the chance to speak with attorneys about whether the man’s bail should be revoked.

Superior Court Justice William Anderson said during a Friday morning bail revocation hearing at Penobscot Judicial Center that he wants to discuss the conditions of Dustin Brown’s bail with prosecutors and Brown’s attorney, Hunter Tzovarras, next week.

“This isn’t working for me,” Anderson said. “There needs to be tighter control if [Brown] is going to remain in the community.”

Brown’s bail conditions, set in January, required that he live with his father, Ronald Brown, and that he only be outside the home while working and traveling to and from work.

Brown, 19, had been accused of attending the Bangor State Fair, going to Walmart and living in a trailer without his father’s supervision for several days, all of which are violations of his bail conditions, according to prosecutors.

Tzovarras argued that Brown was at Walmart for a work-related task and that Brown made no attempt to hide the fact that his father wasn’t living with him for a brief period and quickly updated his attorney after the family had a falling out. Anderson said testimony that Brown was at the fair in late July was spotty and conflicted.

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Benson, representing the prosecution, said the state “bent over backward” to allow bail and exceptions for Brown, but those exceptions were being stretched because Brown could claim that any trip to Walmart on anywhere else is work-related.

Police arrested him Aug. 9 after the diistrict attorney’s office learned of the alleged bail violations.

Brown was 18 when he was charged with manslaughter in the Nov. 25 death of his son, Xander C. Brown, in early January. He entered a plea of not guilty on Jan. 3 and was released on bail on Jan. 18 with conditions that included a requirement that he remain in the custody of his father. An autopsy revealed the infant died from “inflicted trauma.”

Bangor police Lt. Tim Reid said at the time of the arrest that Brown told the baby’s mother that he had been feeding Xander and when he went to burp him, Xander’s head struck his chin. Brown said that he “jerked Xander when this happened,” a police affidavit said.

“Dustin told her that Xander went limp after he jerked him. Dustin began crying after telling her this,” according to the affidavit.

The baby, who was born premature, had no other signs of injury. Brown told investigators that “he was feeding Xander his bottle when he just went limp while eating and was unresponsive,” Bangor police Detective Brent Beaulieu said in the affidavit. “Dustin denied witnessing or having knowledge of any traumatic injury to Xander.”

The child’s mother and his grandmother, who were both in the house while Brown was feeding the baby, said they heard a commotion or “thud sound” just before Brown left the bedroom with the unresponsive baby, according to police.

Police charged Brown with manslaughter, a Class A crime that carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

Brown’s trial date has not been set.

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