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Daughter Admits She Joked Over Murder Plot

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Teen-age murderer Cinnamon Brown conceded in court Thursday that she once laughed about the idea of electrocuting her stepmother in a bathtub, but she asserted that she viewed the prospect of killing the woman as deadly serious business.

Under often-tough cross-examination, the 19-year-old woman closed out her two days of testimony as the star witness against her father, 38-year-old David Brown, who is on trial for murder for allegedly orchestrating his wife’s 1985 shooting death.

Cinnamon Brown, incarcerated in the California Youth Authority facility in Camarillo for nearly the last five years, admitted that she shot to death her stepmother, 24-year-old Linda Brown, while the victim slept in their Garden Grove home in March, 1985. But the teen-ager said she committed the crime under the prodding of her father, who made her keep silent about the scheme and then collected $835,000 from his wife’s insurance and married the victim’s sister.

In her testimony, Cinnamon Brown recounted that, while on a drive a few months before the killing with her father and Patti Bailey, the victim’s 17-year-old sister, Cinnamon suggested that the trio could kill Linda Brown by throwing an electrical appliance into the bathtub with her.

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The trio then broke into laughter when they realized that this would not work because “Linda never took baths--she always took showers,” Cinnamon Brown testified.

Defense attorney Gary M. Pohlson pounced on the remark in an effort to portray Cinnamon Brown before the Superior Court jury as a callous and opportunistic murderer who feels no remorse.

Noting the air of levity surrounding the conversation, Pohlson asked in an incredulous tone: “I mean, it’s kind of a big deal, isn’t it--killing someone?”

Cinnamon Brown said she first thought that her father and Patti Bailey were just kidding about the need to get Linda out of the way before Linda could carry out her own plan to kill David Brown and take over his lucrative computer data-retrieval company.

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But soon, she said, she became convinced that there was a real danger and that she had to be the one to kill Linda Brown--in part because her father had assured her that her youth would preclude a prison sentence.

“I didn’t want to lose my dad,” she said, breaking into loud sobs. Killing her stepmother “showed that I loved him,” she added.

Cinnamon Brown said she kept silent about her father’s role in the alleged scheme for more than three years out of loyalty to him. But her loyalty waned--and she was willing to cooperate with authorities--once she heard about the insurance money her father had collected and his marriage to Patti, she testified.

“I was mad and angry because (David Brown and Patti Bailey) didn’t tell me. And I felt hurt because they just left me there. And it seemed like it was not important to them anymore,” she said.

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For the only time in her two days on the witness stand, Cinnamon Brown then appeared to glance quickly at her father and, motioning toward him with her hand, said in tears: “They were just as involved as I was. . . . They killed Linda just as much as I did.”


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