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Guardsman OK’d to wear uniform at trial

A gavel sits on display in a military courtroom Jan. 29, 2014, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. (Airman 1st Class William Johnson/U.S. Air Force)

A man accused of firing warning shots at BNSF Railway employees will be allowed to wear his Army National Guard uniform at trial next week.

Chelan County Superior Court Judge Travis Brandt on Monday cited Virginia case law indicating it was his discretion whether James Carl Brown is permitted to wear his uniform at trial.

The decision reverses an order from Judge Lesley Allan in June barring Brown from doing so. Prosecutors at the time argued it was inappropriate for Brown to wear the uniform in court and that the uniform was being used to gain credibility with jurors.

The 45-year-old Leavenworth man is charged with four counts of second-degree assault and four counts of unlawful imprisonment. The three-day trial is expected to begin at 1:30 p.m. Monday in superior court.

Authorities say Brown used an M4 rifle to fire three warning shots into the ground about 10 feet from a railway crew’s pickup truck in October 2018.

The crew was attempting to reach a railroad crossing by driving up Brown’s driveway on the 12000 block of Chumstick Highway, according to court documents.

Brown allegedly fired the shots, told the crew they weren’t allowed on his property and then left. Crew members told deputies they felt trapped because the only way out was through Brown’s property, documents said.

A member of the Oregon Army National Guard, Brown is not allowed to use a firearm while the case is active, including during military training.

Brown is expected to deploy soon if he is successful at trial, said his attorney, Nick Yedinak.


© 2019 The Wenatchee World