An Orange County businessman pleaded innocent Monday to charges that he orchestrated the murder of his wife and then coerced his teen-age daughter into taking the blame for the crime.
"He completely denies these fictitious charges and is anxious to move this trial along so he can tell his side of the story," attorney Steven L. Harmon said after the arraignment on murder charges of his client, David A. Brown, 35, in a Westminster court.
Brown was arrested last Thursday along with his dead wife's sister, Patricia Bailey, 20, who was charged with conspiring to murder Linda Marie Brown. Law enforcement officials allege that Bailey and Brown, who have been living together in an Anaheim Hills home, were involved romantically at the time of the slaying.
Authorities charge that Brown plotted the murder for a year or more, then persuaded his daughter, Cinnamon Brown, then 14, to confess to killing her stepmother, telling her that she was too young to serve much time in jail.
Now 18, Cinnamon Brown has been serving a 27-year-to-life sentence in a state corrections facility in Camarillo. Investigators said they kept in contact with her and that she recently recanted her confession to them.
Municipal Court Judge Dennis S. Choate set an Oct. 5 bail hearing for Brown, who Garden Grove police say runs a computer data-retrieval firm out of his home.
Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Jeoffrey Robinson said that he would oppose bail.
Choate also set a Dec. 19 court date for Brown's preliminary hearing on the charges.
Linda Brown was found shot twice in the abdomen in the Browns' Garden Grove home on the morning of March 19, 1985, and Cinnamon was found nearly unconscious from drug ingestion in a back yard doghouse. She was arrested for murder after she confessed to the crime.
Robinson has said the teen-ager has not been promised any reduction in her sentence for her cooperation with authorities, which reportedly led to the arrest of her father.