John Wesley Brown
was sentenced to death on July 25, 1991 for the first-degree murder of
his father, Wesley Brown. John Brown shot his father to death inside
their home the previous year.
On June 10, 1990, John
Brown and his father, Wesley Brown, who was then seventy-seven years old,
were together in their home in Philadelphia. A quarrel between the two
occurred over Brown's use of his father's car for "hacking," that is, an
unlicensed taxi service.
Brown shot his father
four times with a .38 caliber pistol and left him to bleed to death in
their home. A neighbor who heard the shots called the victim's
granddaughter; she in turn called her grandfather. John Brown answered
the phone and told his niece that her grandfather was outdoors.
Brown placed a .38
caliber revolver next to his father's body and took $400 from his
father's wallet, then drove off in his father's car. He disposed of the
murder weapon by throwing it out the car window in Maryland en route to
Two days later Brown
was stopped at a road check in Georgia; a computer check of his driver's
license disclosed that the license was expired, that the car was stolen,
and that Brown was wanted in Pennsylvania for murder.
Brown admitted shooting
his father, but claimed it was done in self-defense after his father
pointed a .357 magnum pistol at him.