BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Timothy Robert Brown served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. A U.S. Army Ranger, he jumped from military aircraft and placed himself in harm’s way while fighting for his country.
Brown returned home with deep emotional wounds, family said Wednesday. He struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder, and ended up “basically homeless,” said his mother, Shelly Sterni.
Her son was a good man man, Sterni said, a father to two boys, and she called it a slap in the face for him to be shot dead by Michael Lee Milam in Oildale after surviving combat overseas.
“There is not enough Kleenex to facilitate my tears until I pass away,” Sterni said.
Her remarks came before Milam was sentenced to 16 years in prison under a plea agreement reached earlier this year. He pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in exchange for the dismissal of first-degree murder and other charges.
Milam, 48, stood quietly by defense attorney Roxane Bukowski as Brown’s family read statements to Judge Eric Bradshaw.
Early Nov. 14, 2021, Milam shot Brown, 41, in the face after the two fought in what the defendant called a “flophouse” on El Tejon Avenue where people went to use drugs, according to court documents.
Milam told detectives Brown pulled a chrome object from his pocket during a pause in the fight. Believing it was either a knife or gun, Milam drew a handgun which he said accidentally went off as he switched it to his other hand. Brown died at the scene.
In court, Brown’s wife, Amy Powell, spoke through tears in describing how her sons, ages 15 and 11, haven’t been the same since their father’s death. She said they’re “emotionally heartbroken” and experience bouts of depression. Sometimes she finds them crying in their room.
Michelle Davis, Brown’s sister, said a violent scene in a movie or TV show can trigger thoughts of her brother’s death. As a Christian, Davis said, she has the challenge of forgiving Milam.
She said her faith will see her through, but, in referencing a Bible passage, told the court she’s struggling to see how what happened could work towards good.
“What good could come from killing such a once-valiant hero?” she said.