A young woman with a soft voice and girlish bangs testified Friday that as a teen-ager she fell in love with her brother-in-law, then helped him and his daughter kill her own sister in the Garden Grove home they all shared.
Patricia A. Bailey, now 20, married David A. Brown shortly after Linda Marie Brown, who was his wife, was shot to death March 19, 1985. David Brown had tried to persuade her to kill her sister, Bailey said, but when she could not go through with it, she testified, Brown told her he would get his daughter, Cinnamon, to do it.
The three agreed that Cinnamon, then 14, would take all the blame because as a juvenile she would have to serve less time in prison.
Bailey said she participated only because she thought her sister was plotting to kill David Brown and that his death, he had told her, would break up the family.
"I loved him; he had always been there for me as my family," Bailey testified in Orange County Municipal Court in Westminster on Friday.
Bailey's bizarre tales of murder plots and romance were just the latest in a series of incredible events in the preliminary hearing for David Brown, who is now accused of masterminding the plot to kill Linda Marie Brown. The hearing will determine whether he is bound over for trial.
Cinnamon Brown, who admits that she shot her stepmother, was convicted of murder 2 years ago and was sentenced to the California Youth Authority, which could have kept her in its jurisdiction until she turns 25. (She is still under its jurisdiction.) In the meantime, David Brown, now 36 and the owner of a successful computer company, and Bailey were living a luxurious life in a new home in Anaheim Hills. Four months ago, however, Cinnamon Brown, now 18, changed her story about what happened. She told investigators that her father set up the murder.
Brown and Bailey were immediately arrested. Brown is being held without bail in Orange County Jail in Santa Ana. The preliminary hearing is expected to last at least through next week. Bailey is being held on murder charges in County Jail in Santa Ana.
Prosecutors argue that Brown wanted his wife dead so that he could collect $850,000 in insurance money.
During the hearing Friday, Deputy Dist. Atty. Jeoffrey L. Robinson depicted for Judge Floyd H. Schenk a scenario in which Brown used his influence over the young girls in his "family" to get them to do his bidding.
Bailey was not given immunity for her testimony against her husband, but her attorney, Donald G. Rubright, said he hopes that her cooperation will help her with her own situation.
"She's going to plead guilty to something, and she knows that she is going to prison," Rubright said, "but she wanted to testify because she feels guilty about this."
Bailey testified that she had moved in with her sister and Brown when she was just 11 or 12 and that she saw Brown as a father figure. But when she reached 14 or 15, she said, she and Brown began to have a romantic interest in each other. She said they would have physical contact anytime her sister was not around--"if she was in the shower or at the store, in the kitchen."
About 2 years before Linda Marie Brown was killed, Bailey said, David Brown began telling her that her sister was plotting to kill him. Bailey said she always believed what he told her. When he first suggested that they kill Linda, Bailey said, she offered another alternative--that they just have her paralyzed by running over her legs with a car.
Robinson asked her why. Bailey responded: "It would make it to where she would always have to stay in bed, and that way she couldn't break up the family." But David rejected the idea of anything less than murder for Linda, Bailey said.
Robinson at another point asked her that if it had come down to siding with Brown or siding with her sister, with whom would she have gone. "David," she answered.
At one point, Bailey said, she had agreed to kill Linda herself. One night, she said, David came to her room about 2 a.m. and sent her down to Linda's bedroom. He gave her a gun, she said, and told her to use a pillow on the end of the bed to muffle the sounds. Her sister was asleep, Bailey said.
"I stood at Linda's back with a pillow and held the gun in my hand. . . . I couldn't do it," she said.
Bailey so far has not corroborated Cinnamon Brown's latest version of events--that she killed her stepmother at her father's request. Bailey is scheduled to continue her testimony Monday morning. David Brown's attorney, Joel Baruch, said he will probably spend several days cross-examining her.
"She's a perjurer," Baruch said Friday of Bailey. He maintains that the two women have set up his client as the fall guy.
At Cinnamon Brown's trial 2 years ago, Bailey said Cinnamon first shot at her and then ran down the hall to shoot Linda. Bailey said nothing at that trial about her own role or anything that would indicate that David Brown was involved.