US District Court, Cheyenne
(Cheyenne, Wyo.) – U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming Christopher A. Crofts announced today that on January 9, 2014, Alan Brown, 61, and his brother Vernon Lee Brown, 54, were each sentenced in federal court to 84 months imprisonment with the Bureau of Prisons on one count of Involuntary Manslaughter and Aiding and Abetting (Alan Brown) and Involuntary Manslaughter (Vernon Brown).
The charges against Alan and Vernon Lee Brown stem from an incident that occurred on or about May 6, 2006, which resulted in the death of Tad Paul Barnson, 47, who was originally from Idaho Falls, Idaho, but resided in and around Riverton, Wyoming at the time of his death. Alan and Vernon Lee Brown are life-long Wind River Indian Reservation inhabitants and this crime occurred, in part, on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
On March 10, 2013, skeletal remains were found on the reservation east of Riverton. Earlier this month, Fremont County Coroner Ed McAuslan identified the remains as belonging to Barnson, who went missing in 2006.
At the time of his disappearance, Barnson reportedly stood 6’4″ tall and weighed 180 pounds. According to a Verdict and Case Docket from the coroner’s office, Barnson’s identity was confirmed via dental records.
The verdict indicated the cause of death was “blunt force and penetrating trauma.”
According to McAuslan, the skeletal remains revealed a hole and other marks on the man’s scapula (shoulder blade), the bone that connects the humerus (upper arm bone) with the clavicle (collar bone). The man’s collar bone was also reported to be broken.
In addition to the imprisonment, Alan and Vernon Lee Brown were also sentenced to three years of supervised release following confinement and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment. The Court will determine and order an appropriate restitution amount within 60 days. This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Fremont County Sheriff’s Department.