Former coach gets suspended sentence

This April 30, 2010 file photo shows Corwin Brown of the New England Patriots NFL football team. Former Notre Dame assistant coach Corwin Brown officially notified a judge Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, that he plans to defend himself against charges of striking his wife and holding her hostage by claiming he has a mental defect caused by brain injuries he sustained while playing football in the NFL and college. He was defensive coordinator at Notre Dame from 2007-2009, losing his job when coach Charlie Weis was fired and then coaching for the New England Patriots for a season. (AP Photo/File)

SOUTH BEND — Corwin Brown, NFL defensive back and former Notre Dame assistant football coach, has been given a four-year suspended prison sentence for striking his wife and holding her hostage with a handgun in a seven-hour standoff with police last August.

On Tuesday, St. Joseph County Judge Jane Woodward Miller allowed Brown to avoid prison after his wife, Melissa, said taking him out of counseling and away from their family would be harmful. She also said she did not feel like a victim.

As part of a plea agreement, Brown, 42, pleaded guilty but mentally ill in June to felony confinement and domestic battery charges. Miller sentenced Brown to consecutive two-year prison sentences; she later suspended the sentences, placed him on probation and ordered him to continue counseling.

 — Associated Press