Lana and Benjamin Brown, both of Caneyville, appeared in District Court on Tuesday morning for the first time since their indictment on second degree manslaughter charges in the death of 22-month old Keaton Runsvold. Lana Brown is Keaton’s maternal grandmother.
Toxicology tests completed on Keaton at the time of his autopsy found prescription drugs, prescribed to Lana Brown, in his system at the time of his death in early January. Methamphetamine was also found in his body, as well as Lana and Benjamin Brown's systems.
Lana Brown, who was charged with caring for the toddler after Keaton’s mother, Chasity Lucas, dropped him off at her home, said in January that she thought he ingested a household cleaning product.
Both Browns pleaded not guilty to the charges.
After asking Judge Robert Miller for supervised release, Benjamin Brown, originally saddled with a $150,000 cash bond, had his bond reduced to a $50,000 cash bond. Brown has an extensive criminal history, including gun and drug convictions, as well a manufacturing methamphetamine conviction. He has additionally been charged in this case for being a persistent felony offender.
Benjamin Brown is on both parole and probation for several previous offenses. Currently, he is represented by a public defender.
Lana Brown also had her bond reduced from $150,000 to a $25,000 cash or property bond. Her criminal history dates back to 1993 and includes several theft by deception, shoplifting, possession of marijuana, and welfare fraud convictions.
According to prosecutors, both Browns are considered flight risks by virtue of them evading law enforcement when they learned they were to be arrested on these charges. Also, Benjamin Brown failed to appear in court when ordered to do so on a previous charge.
Lana Brown does not have legal representation at this time.
A pretrial hearing for both defendants was set for October 7 at 9:00 a.m. in District Court. Both defendants face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.