A man was charged Wednesday with capital murder in the fatal stabbing of the grandmother of his three children in the neck with a knife as she watched her students at a park in Long Beach.
Steven Brown, 50, was charged with murder in Los Angeles County Superior Court and faces the special allegation that he was lying in wait to kill 53-year-old Kellye Taylor, a teacher at Huntington Academy, with a knife Friday during noon recess at Orizaba Park.
Brown has prior felony convictions for burglary, robbery and drug possession, as well as a 2011 conviction for child cruelty.
Prosecutors say that if Brown is convicted, he could face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. A decision on which sentence to seek will be made in the coming months.
At the time of the killing, Taylor had custody of Brown's three children.
Brown's alleged actions may have been prompted by a custody dispute.
He is the boyfriend of Taylor's daughter Tia. The courts in March gave custody of his three children with Tia Taylor to Kellye Taylor. The custody change came after Tia Taylor and Brown were arrested in separate incidents.
According to a lawsuit filed by Brown in July, he claimed that Taylor was an "informant" who told social workers he abused his children. The county confirmed the abuse and in March gave Kellye Taylor custody of five children — ages 2 to 17.
He was furious about having the children taken away, according to a lawsuit he filed in July against Long Beach police, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and several social workers.