MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Friday marked 10 years since a Madison County woman discovered the dead body of her neighbor, Jason Klonowski. A decade later, his murder remains unsolved.
“It was a Sunday,” said Denise Brown. “November the 3rd on a Sunday, I had just gotten home from church.”
Brown told News 19 that she cleaned Klonowski’s home every Sunday. She said on that particular Sunday in 2013, she went over to Klonowski’s home and immediately noticed something wasn’t right.
“The door was open, the dogs were out, I knew something was wrong,” she said. “I started hollering for Jason and I didn’t get an answer… I went running out to the barn and he was sitting in a chair and I knew, you could just tell.”
Brown said she called 911 and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) responded to the home to begin their investigation.
Brown said initially, “They told us it was natural causes.” However, she remained skeptical. “Something told me then… I questioned that,” she added.
Two days after Klonowski’s body was discovered, his death was declared a homicide. Investigators said Klonowski was shot multiple times in the back of the head, and believe he was dead a few days before he was found.
Brown said she has always been suspicious about what happened to her neighbor. “I think they want it to disappear and go away, and as all of us get older, it will go away,” Brown said.
Jason Klonowski was a known critic of the MCSO, led at that time, by Sheriff Blake Dorning.
A few weeks before the murder, Klonowski stood on a homemade stage in his front yard off of Mussleman Lane in Harvest, facing Highway 53. He gave a speech rallying for his friend Robert Bryant.
Bryant had been beaten during a traffic stop with the MCSO in August of 2012. Shortly after Bryant was beaten, he was charged with a felony for assaulting an officer during that traffic stop. Klonowski helped pay his friend Robert Bryant’s legal bills.
“He vowed that he was going to get the deputies that did this to Robert Bryant,” Brown said.
The charges against Bryant were eventually dropped and the justice system got involved on his behalf. In 2016, a federal judge sentenced former MCSO deputy Justin Watson to three years in prison for his connection to the incident.
“That’s just too coincidental that a month later after a rally he comes up… [dead]” Brown said. “I don’t know, and walking onto the scene, it just seemed too staged,” she added.
A decade after Klonowski’s murder, Brown tells News 19 that she wants there to finally be a public resolution to the case. “It’s a solvable case, somebody just needs to step up and do something,” Brown said.
News 19 asked Brown if she thought it would ever be solved. Brown said, “Oh, it’s solved, but doing something about it is a whole different story.”
News 19 reached out to the MCSO for the latest details on the case. Public Information Officer Brent Patterson told News 19 that Klonowski’s death is an “open case” and that it will “remain that way until we solve it and have a successful prosecution.”
Patterson added that there are “no new leads in the case, but we welcome any information from the public.”
Patterson declined to set up any interviews with investigators on the case and declined to give an on-camera update. “Once we have additional information that we can provide, we will contact our media outlets and provide a statement on camera,” Patterson said.
News 19 also asked Patterson if the Sheriff’s Office had any comment regarding the skepticism from Brown and others about the investigation.
Patterson said, “The Madison County Sheriff’s Office fully cooperated with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency during the course of the Klonowski murder investigation, which was released back to MCSO.” He said the case has “since been assigned to our Major Crimes Unit.”
At one time, MCSO asked the Huntsville Police Department if they would take over the investigation, but HPD declined.
A decade later and Brown wants justice to be served for the person or persons responsible for Klonowski’s death. “They don’t have a right to do what they did and keep living a regular life, they should be punished,” she said.
If you have any information regarding Klonowski’s death, reach out to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office at 256-532-3412.