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Riverhead man charged with murder in hospital; arraignment adjourned twice

Robert Brown being escorted to Riverhead Town Justice Court this morning, Aug. 28, 2019. Brown, 71, is being charged with the killing of his wife Sarah Brown in their Doris Avenue home yesterday.

The arraignment of Robert Brown on an indictment for murder and weapons charges has been adjourned twice this week because Mr. Brown is in a local hospital, according to his attorney.

Mr. Brown, 65, of Riverhead is accused of shooting and killing his 71-year-old wife, Sarah, in their Doris Avenue home on Aug. 27.

A Grand Jury indicted him last Thursday on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and he was originally scheduled to be arraigned in State Supreme Court Wednesday, but that was adjourned until Friday. That appearance was adjourned again because Mr. Brown was still in the hospital.

Ian Fitzgerald, Mr. Brown’s court-appointed lawyer, said he did not know why specifically Mr. Brown was hospitalized.

A new arraignment date was not immediately available.

The criminal complaint filed against Mr. Brown by Riverhead police said that “the charges were based in part on the oral admission of (Mr. Brown) where in sum and substance, he stated ‘I shot my wife with a pistol in the neck area.’ ”

Mr. Fitzgerald said he believes his client my be suffering from some sort of dementia, and Riverhead Town Justice Allen Smith ordered him to undergo medical and mental evaluation at his arraignment in that court, prior to the indictment.

On Aug. 27, Mr. Brown was seen walking with a gun by the house, and he then barricaded himself inside for nearly four hours when police arrived, before police were able to knock down his door and take him into custody. 

On the day following the shooting, officers from the Suffolk Crime Lab could be seen removing numerous guns from Mr. Brown’s home and photographing and documenting them.

Photo caption: Mr. Brown led into Riverhead Justice Court Aug. 28. (Credit: John Roca/Newsday)

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