The victim of a high-profile, hot-grease attack 13 years ago has been charged in Madison County with stealing appliances from empty homes.
Madison County sheriff's detectives said Monday that Damien T. Brown, 34, of Godfrey has been charged with stealing a water heater and furnace from a home in Godfrey as well as a water heater, furnace and air conditioner from a second home in Godfrey.
Brown was the victim in a grease-throwing attack in Edwardsville in 2000 that left him severely scarred on much of his torso and pelvic area.
His estranged wife, Joy Brown, claimed at trial that she was holding the pot of boiling oil to try to scare an abusive Damien Brown out of her home, after he tried to rape her. She claimed that the grease, which she had been heating to fry some chicken, spilled onto Damien Brown when he grabbed for the pot.
But Damien Brown testified that Joy Brown was upset about hickeys on his neck from another woman. He said she poured the grease onto him as he lay in bed.
At the time, Damien Brown had four convictions for abusing Joy Brown, but the validity of those was called into question during the grease trial.
One police officer testified that Joy Brown had spoken a year earlier about wanting to throw hot grease onto Damien Brown because he wasn't treating her right.
The jury convicted Joy Brown of heinous battery, and she received a six-year prison sentence.
The Illinois Clemency Project for Battered Women later took up Joy Brown's cause, and sought clemency. Former Gov. George Ryan in 2003 reduced the sentence from six years to three, and Joy Brown was expected to be released later that year.
Ryan did not dispute Joy Brown's guilt. On his way out of office, he granted four pardons and 167 sentence commutations for death row inmates. He also granted clemency to at least 147 other prisoners.
In the appliance thefts, Damien Brown is charged with two felony counts of burglary. One theft happened Monday at a home that is under construction, and the other happened Jan. 27 at an unoccupied home.
Sheriff's Capt. Mike Dixon said Damien Brown became a suspect after investigators developed a lead on a possible suspect vehicle.
Damien Brown was being held Monday at the Madison County Jail with bail set at $75,000 by Associate Judge James Hackett.