PORTLAND – Twice in his lifetime, 52-year-old Jon Brown has attacked another person and left them to die.

And twice, his victims have survived to tell their tales to police.

For his second conviction for attempted murder, Brown was sentenced Thursday to 45 years in prison.

“You are a very dangerous individual. You have proven that on more than one occasion,” Justice Roland Cole told Brown during the hearing in Cumberland County Superior Court.

Brown admitted that on May 23 he went into the home of a longtime friend, beat him and shot him in the head with a .22-caliber rifle, then drove away with the man’s cell phone and $600 in cash.

Harold Small, 64, of Gray survived despite losing his right eye and enduring surgery to remove bullet fragments from his brain. Medical responders initially thought the bullet wound would be fatal.

Small is related to Brown through marriage, and helped to raise Brown.

At Thursday’s hearing, Brown pleaded guilty to robbery, elevated aggravated assault and aggravated attempted murder.

He provided no explanation for the crime except to say that he and Small got into a fight that got out of hand.

His lawyer, Cliff Strike of the firm Strike, Goodwin & O’Brien, suggested that Brown was desperate for money because he had lost his job in December.

“I didn’t go over there with any intent to harm Harold Small,” Brown told the judge.

“He’s been a family member for a long time. It’s sad that it happened.”

Brown said he wanted to plead guilty right away and proceed to sentencing as quickly as possible.

The Brown and Small families are intertwined, and he knew they would not begin the healing process until the court case was resolved.

“I regret deeply what I did. It’s breaking up my family,” he said.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Bud Ellis, said Small is recovering slowly, but “was in no shape” to appear at Thursday’s plea and sentencing hearing.

“It’s a miracle the man is not dead,” Ellis said.

Brown’s record includes convictions for burglary, gross sexual assault, theft, assault and attempted escape from prison, all from 1977 to 1983.

He was in prison from 1984 to 1997 for trying to kill a Portland woman in 1982.

Ellis outlined the facts of that case, to demonstrate to Cole what the prosecutor described as Brown’s “depraved mind.”

On Dec. 27, 1982, Brown dropped in on a couple in Portland and asked them for a place to stay, Ellis said.

They agreed, but the husband asked Brown to leave in the morning.

The wife, however, told Brown he could stay if he needed to stay.

Around 10 that morning, the husband returned home and found his wife in their bed.

She had been stabbed several times in the chest and back, and her face had been beaten.

The couple’s two children, both younger than 3, were still in the home. The woman survived.

Ellis said Brown is the first person in at least 25 years to be prosecuted in Cumberland County for attempted murder after being convicted of the same crime.

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

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