By CHRIS AGEE
PALO PINTO COUNTY – Almost a year after he was found dead in his Papoose Lane home, Kevin Brown's wife recently confessed to his murder as part of a plea deal with the office of District Attorney Mike Burns.
Before her murder trial was set to begin, a source in the district clerk's office confirmed Sarah Brown accepted an offer resulting in a 40-year prison sentence. County records show she also incurred a $3,000 fine and $219 in court costs.
Palo Pinto County Sheriff Ira Mercer said when Brown, a 50-year-old U.S. Army National Guard First Sergeant, did not report to work one day early last May, his coworkers became concerned and contacted authorities.
When investigators went to his home and detected an odor emanating from inside, Mercer said authorities obtained a search warrant and ultimately discovered a "white male wrapped in plastic bags in the house." Investigators later determined the man had been shot in the face.
Brown's body was identified May 7 and his wife was subsequently arrested and charged with his murder.
Several individuals close to the Browns told the Index the couple had significant marital problems. Drug use and gambling are among the allegations levied against Sarah Brown, and a neighbor reported seeing the couple fight publicly about finances.
Sarah Brown's son, Kaleb Gonce, said his stepfather "believed it was just a gambling addiction, but the simple fact is my mom was a heavy meth[amphetamine] user."
The victim's father, Jerry Brown, said his son was highly decorated and "very much honored fallen soldiers."
Following Kevin Brown's death, fellow veterans joined together to host a memorial event for him at the VFW Post 2399. A stone monument honoring his service remains at the location.
Members of the American Legion Post 75, where Brown once served as commander, also held a memorial event. Current commander Donald Christy described his friend as "a stand-up guy" and "a regular man's kind of man."
Brown "loved his country and loved the military," Christy continued. "He will greatly be missed by us out here."
A regular fixture at veteran's events throughout the community, Kevin Brown hosted Veteran's Day and Memorial Day services in Mineral Wells in recent years.
As of the Index's deadline Tuesday, the DA had not responded to requests for comment.