Former Notre Dame assistant pleads ‘guilty but mentally ill’ after August police standoff

Former Notre Dame assistant football coach Corwin Brown pleaded guilty but mentally ill on Thursday after striking his wife and holding her hostage at gunpoint during a seven-hour standoff with police.

Prior to giving himself up, Brown shot himself in the stomach.

With his wife in the courtroom and ultimately by his side, Brown, 42, pleaded to class D felony confinement and domestic battery charges. The plea agreement calls for a four-year prison sentence, but that sentence could be suspended.

The suspension of the sentence means Brown could walk away with just probation.

Brown was originally charged with a class B felony confinement charge but that was dropped as part of the plea deal.

According to the Associated Press, doctors were split on whether Brown was mentally competent during the incident, but those doctor reports have since been sealed. Brown told St. Joseph County Judge Jane Woodward Miller he was under the care of a physician in Chicago and taking medication for psychosis.

When Brown was charged back in August, his family released a statement saying he had suffered brain damage as a result of head trauma while playing defensive back at Michigan and with the NFL's Patriots, Jets and Lions.

"We believe Corwin is suffering from symptoms similar to those experienced by the late Dave Duerson and were caused by the many notable collisions during Corwin's career in the NFL," the statement, which compared Brown to the former Notre Dame and Chicago Bear great who committed suicide in February 2011 by shooting himself in the chest, to preserve his brain for research, said. "For those reasons, Corwin chose to not disclose his symptoms, as he did not want to bring shame to any coach, team, organization, or the NFL."

Sentencing is set for Aug. 21. Hopefully, Brown gets the help he needs.

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