Man sent to prison for shooting Pottstown man
NORRISTOWN » A Norristown man faces decades in prison after a jury determined he shot a Pottstown man with the intent to kill him during an argument about ownership of a motorcycle.
Bobby Brown, 41, of the first block of Lincoln Drive, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court on Monday to 22½ to 45 years in a state correctional facility on charges of attempted homicide, aggravated and simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and firearms not to be carried without a license in connection with the 2:40 p.m. Nov. 1, 2016, shooting of Robert Pfanders inside a garage located at the rear of a residence in the first block of King Street in Pottstown.
The sentence was imposed by Judge Richard P. Haaz who presided over the three-day trial in May, at which a jury of six men and six women convicted Brown of the charges. During the trial, Assistant District Attorney Samantha L. Thompson argued Brown shot Pfanders three times with the intent to kill him as they argued over the ownership of a motorcycle inside the garage where Pfanders was working. Thompson alleged Brown was angry when he came to the garage that day and suspected the motorcycle in the garage belonged to him.
Testimony revealed the motorcycle was not registered to Brown.
Thompson sought a lengthy prison sentence against Brown.
“The facts of the case are gruesome. It’s a case where Mr. Brown basically valued the victim’s life as less than the motorcycle that he thought the victim owed to him. He shot him point blank three times, twice while he was on his knees falling to the ground,” Thompson said on Monday, adding Brown is a danger to the community.
Brown continued to profess his innocence before learning his fate.
“There’s a complete lack of accountability,” Thompson said.
Pottstown Detective Thomas Leahan testified at trial that when he arrived at the shooting scene and asked a wounded Pfanders who shot him, Pfanders replied, “Bobby Brown! Bobby Brown from Norristown.”
Testimony revealed a gunshot to Pfanders’ back was life threatening, traveling through his diaphragm, destroying his spleen and damaging his colon. Pfanders also suffered gunshot wounds to the left forearm and left thigh and lost 20 percent of his blood volume, testimony revealed.
Pfanders was transported to a local trauma center and underwent multiple surgeries during which his spleen was removed. A forensic pathologist testified Pfanders was “fortunate” to have survived the attack.
Brown did not testify during the trial but character witnesses said he had a reputation in the community for being peaceful and non-violent.
At trial, defense lawyer Scott C. McIntosh argued to the jury that there was no DNA evidence, no video surveillance footage of the shooting and that a weapon was never found, nor linked to Brown.
McIntosh challenged the notion that Brown was responsible for the shooting, claiming there was reasonable doubt in the case.
McIntosh suggested an eyewitness’s account of the shooting and his identification of Brown as the shooter couldn’t be trusted because the eyewitness, who was working in the garage with Pfanders, was under the influence of drugs at the time of the shooting.
McIntosh, suggesting authorities arrested the wrong person, implied Pfanders knew who shot him but framed Brown for the shooting.
Testimony revealed Brown wasn’t taken into custody until Nov. 25 when Philadelphia police found him during a traffic stop. At that time, Brown gave police a false name, an act Thompson argued, showed Brown’s “consciousness of guilt.”
A gun never was recovered. But testimony also revealed Brown did not have a license to carry a concealed weapon.
In addition to witness identifications of Brown as the shooter, there was circumstantial evidence pointing to Brown’s guilt, Thompson argued.
Investigators obtained video surveillance footage that showed a green Jeep Grand Cherokee, allegedly operated by Brown, traveling at a high rate of speed in the area a minute after the shooting. Testimony also revealed that Brown’s right thumb print was found on a vehicle parked outside the garage, which Thompson theorized Brown touched as he fled from the scene of the shooting.
“It’s a case where Mr. Brown basically valued the victim’s life as less than the motorcycle that he thought the victim owed to him.” — Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Samantha Thompson