Maximum Term Sought for Brando : Sentencing: Prosecutors paint him as 'vicious' and ask that he get 16 years.


Christian Brando is "vicious, callous and a serious danger to society," a man who "solves his problems by firing a gun at people's heads," according to a prosecution brief that alleges other violent episodes by the actor's son and asks that he be imprisoned for the maximum 16 years for killing his half-sister's Tahitian lover.

The 32-year-old welder, eldest son of Marlon Brando, "has engaged in a pattern of ever escalating violence. Perhaps he thought that his famous father would get him out of any trouble he might get into," said the brief by Deputy Dist. Attys. Steven Barshop and William Clark.

The brief--released Thursday in anticipation of the sentencing hearing, which begins Tuesday--outlines these incidents: in February, 1989, Brando allegedly shooting and slightly wounding a man sitting in a car in Brando's driveway; in March, 1990, Brando swinging a hammer at a man he thought had tried to hit him, then smashing the man's car headlights with the tool; and March, 1986, allegedly threatening his former wife, saying he would "chop her into little pieces," and supposedly pointing a rifle at her mother.

"Christian Brando is a serious danger to society, not only because he is vicious, but also because he thinks the law does not apply to him," the prosecutors wrote. "Only the (16-year maximum) will protect society from a man who solves his problems by firing a gun at people's heads."

Brando's attorney, Robert Shapiro, said late Thursday:

"In asking for 16 years, the district attorney is making as ludicrous a request as we would be if we asked for a fine in this case. Neither is justified."

Shapiro mocked the prosecutors' mention of the driveway shooting incident, which was reported in the tabloid National Enquirer.

"The district attorney has stooped to a new low in looking for investigators if they are relying on tabloid journalists as a source of information," the lawyer said.

Brando "was involved in an isolated domestic violence situation where he was coming to the aid of his pregnant sister," Shapiro said of the fatal shooting. "In such cases, a minimum sentence is generally imposed."

Brando, free on bail, could be sentenced to anything from probation to 16 years. He pleaded guilty in January to the voluntary manslaughter of Dag Drollet, 26, the Tahitian lover of Brando's half-sister, Cheyenne.

Brando told police he struggled with Drollet during an argument and the gun went off.

The prosecutors' memo said that Brando "executed Dag Drollet" and "is getting away with murder." He used his father's name to keep himself out of trouble, they wrote.

"He beat up his wife and told her that she would have to deal with Marlon Brando's lawyers," the memo said. "He shot Ricardo Alvarez in the face and Alvarez didn't report the shooting, because he didn't want to cause problems between Christian and Marlon Brando."

Prosecutors say they will call as witnesses William Emmett Smith III, a man who said he saw both the February, 1989, and March, 1990, incidents, and Alvarez, if he can be found. Also on the list are Brando's former wife and mother-in-law, Brando's girlfriend, and a man prosecutors say modified a MAC-10 machine gun into an illegal automatic weapon for Brando.

Last November, Smith told prosecutors: "The only thing I might have done had I known this would happen--but no one can read a crystal ball--is I would have probably told the police about that first, the first shooting, if I'd have known that he was gonna get in any deeper water. . . . Maybe he would've gotten some help, or something."

Times staff writer Lois Timnick contributed to this story.

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