Crime - Sacto 911

At trial in stabbing, mother testifies defendant isn’t anti-gay

Timothy Brownell
Timothy Brownell Sacramento Police Department

Word that three popular local musicians attacked on a street corner by a knife-wielding man who hurled anti-gay slurs shocked and disturbed Sacramento’s tight-knit midtown. Months after the late-night attack, the suspect’s mother took the stand at his assault trial Tuesday in Sacramento Superior Court to tell how her son embraced her own longtime same-sex relationship.

Timothy Brownell, 25, faces assault charges stemming from the attack on musicians Alex Lyman, Blake Abbey and Weston Richmond outside the Press Club bar at 21st and O streets in the early hours of June 22, 2015.

Prosecutors allege Brownell lobbed the homophobic slurs while stabbing Abbey, lead singer for the band Musical Charis in the arm and guitarist Lyman of Slaves in the side, narrowly missing his spleen. Richmond suffered a broken hand and suffered minor cuts in the bloody incident. Sacramento police also investigated the attack as a hate crime in response to claims on social media that Brownell targeted the men because they wore skinny jeans.

In brief afternoon testimony before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Savage on Wednesday, Lori Brownell testified that her son has never been angry or uneasy with her relationship, that he lived with the couple after coming home to Sacramento from a four-year Army stretch in 2011, and that Timothy Brownell often refers to his mother’s partner as his “second mom.”

“You’ve heard allegations of what Tim was said to have said,” Timothy Brownell’s defense counsel Leslie Ramos asked. “Do you believe Tim to be homophobic?”

“No,” Lori Brownell said, adding that she would not have taken the stand on her son’s behalf if he was homophobic as her son and jurors looked on.

Brownell said she has been in a same-sex relationship since her son was 8 years old.

Family and friends have maintained that Brownell does not harbor anti-gay bias.

Lori Brownell told The Sacramento Bee last year that her son suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder connected to his Afghanistan tour that may have contributed to the alleged incident.

Jurors are expected to hear closing arguments in the case on Thursday.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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