LOS ANGELES — Michigan computer expert David Brown, owner of Data Recovery Inc., knew there was a David Brown with a Data Recovery in California, but the coincidence didn't bother him until the other was charged with murder.
David Ira Brown, 39, of Farmington Hills, Mich., said he became seriously concerned when he learned a friend in the computer industry had received 20 telexes and calls wanting to know "what in God's name had gotten into me."
He said he wants everyone, particularly his 100 clients nationwide, to know that he and his company are different from the California David Brown and his company.
The man jailed 2,000 miles away in a case that drew national attention is David Arnold Brown, 35, of Anaheim, who was charged last month with murdering his wife for $1 million insurance in 1985 and persuading his teen-age daughter to take the blame.
The daughter, Cinnamon, now 18, was found hours after the slaying in a back-yard doghouse, suffering from a drug overdose. She clutched a note that read, "Dear God, please forgive me. I didn't mean to hurt her."
Prosecutors filed charges against her father after Cinnamon, having served three years in a youth detention center, began talking.
The Michigan Brown said Tuesday by telephone that he knew of the California man and the identical business name and had talked to him about it at least three years ago. "We kind of laughed about it," he said.
He learned of the arrest a week and half ago.
"A friend that's in the computer business called me at home Monday (Sept. 26) and said, 'Guess who's in jail for murder?' and I just jokingly said, 'I dunno, your brother George?' and he said, 'Sit down.' He says, 'David Brown, owner of Data Recovery.' I said, 'What kind of joke is this?' He said, 'A guy out in California.' "
The next day he was installing computer equipment for a customer when a worker he has known for years came in, sat down and told him she was going to ask something that no one else had the nerve to ask.
She handed him a front-page article on the arrest, he said. "After I read the article, she said, 'What have you got to do with that?' I looked at her and I said, 'Well, obviously nothing. I'm not in jail.' "
Records at Anaheim City Hall show that David Arnold Brown took out a license in 1982 for the name Data Recovery/Data Safe Technology. In 1988 he received a license for the name Data Recovery.
David Ira Brown said Data Recovery Inc. was incorporated in Michigan in 1981.
The Michigan Brown, who has been married for 17 years, said his parents advised him to change the name of the company, which does about $600,000 to $700,000 business a year, but he doesn't want to because of the reputation he has established.
He said he hasn't lost any clients but calls "have been very sparse this week."
"All of the customers that I have talked with have apologized up and down for even thinking it," he said.