A 7- to 14-year prison sentence is not too harsh for a man who dumped a frying pan filled with boiling sausage grease on his brother’s head during a fight over money, a state appeals court panel has found.
While Jeremiah Brower is cooling his heels behind bars, his brother, Alfonzo, is going through life with permanent, painful scars, Superior Court President Judge Emeritus Kate Ford Elliott noted in an opinion filed this week.
Brower, 29, of Pittsburgh, claimed on appeal to the state court that an Allegheny County judge should have gone easier on him for what he did during the June 2013 fight at his mother’s house.
Brower arrived at his mom’s home while she was cooking hot sausage with green peppers and onions, court filings state. He attacked Alfonzo over an unpaid debt and Alfonzo shoved him into the refrigerator. Brower then reached over to the stove, grabbed the frying pan and poured its contents on Alfonzo, causing severe burns to his brother’s face and upper body.
County Judge Donna Jo McDaniel convicted Brower of aggravated assault during a nonjury trial.
Brower asked the state judges to overturn his conviction and prison sentence on grounds that McDaniel wrongly concluded he had acted recklessly by dousing his brother with the boiling grease.
McDaniel got it right, Elliott found. She noted that Brower “did not use a weapon in the sense of using a gun or a knife, but as (McDaniel) stated, ‘You can’t take a gun to a knife fight and you can’t take hot sausage that is boiling on the stove to a tussle’.”
Elliott also backed Brower’s prison sentence, citing McDaniel’s observation that Brower had a violent criminal record starting when he was 15 and had already served a jail sentence for indecent assault and threatening to kill his girlfriend. Brower had also threatened to kill his father and mother.