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Brown Is Charged in Plot to Kill Present Wife, 2 D.A. Aides

February 16, 1989|ERIC LICHTBLAU | Times Staff Writer

Anaheim businessman David A. Brown, already awaiting trial on suspicion of orchestrating his wife's 1985 murder, was charged Wednesday with plotting to kill his current wife and two members of the district attorney's office to thwart his prosecution.

Brown, 36, allegedly agreed to pay a fellow Orange County Jail inmate at least $30,000--and perhaps hundreds of thousands more--to kill the three after the inmate's release. Prosecutors said they tape-recorded the agreement over the telephone after a third inmate tipped investigators to the plot.

The three alleged targets are all central to Brown's prosecution on charges that he masterminded the killing of his wife, 24-year-old Linda Brown, and set up his teen-age daughter to take the blame. That trial is to begin March 29 in Superior Court.

Alleged Targets

The three targets of the alleged plot are: Deputy Dist. Atty. Jeoffrey Robinson, who is prosecuting the case; Jay Newell, a district attorney's investigator who has been tracking the case since the crime, and Patricia Bailey, who married David Brown after the slaying of her sister--Linda Brown.

Patricia Bailey also is charged with murder in her sister's death but has now agreed to be a key witness against her husband.

Bailey, 21, when told about the new charges against Brown, said in jail Wednesday: "I expected something like this from him. I don't put anything past him now."

In this new twist to a case that already has had its share of bizarre turns, Orange County prosecutors on Wednesday brought a criminal complaint against Brown charging him with conspiracy to commit murder, arson and perjury. His arraignment on the new charges was continued Wednesday until March 3.

Jack Early, one of Brown's attorneys, said: "This is a complete surprise. I'm completely in the dark, and until we get reports, we'll know very little of what's going on."

Shaken by New Charges

Early said that he met with Brown for a few minutes before the arraignment and that the defendant appeared somewhat shaken when informed of the new charges. The attorney added: "I didn't even ask him whether or not (the charges) were true."

Brown's father, Arthur, learned of the new allegations as he and Brown's young daughter waited at County jail to visit the inmate.

"I don't know anything about it, and I don't want to hear about it," the elder Brown said. "I think it's all a bunch of bull, and Patty Bailey's the real culprit in all this."

Prosecutors charge that while in jail, Brown met Richard Steinhart, 36, a Huntington Beach resident facing narcotics charges, and contacted him dozens of times in the last month to arrange the killings of Robinson, Newell and Bailey.

The following account of the events are contained in court papers given Tuesday to Judge Ragnar R. Engerbretsen, who cut off Brown's access to phone calls.

In early January, an inmate contacted investigators and said he had overheard Brown and Steinhart plotting the killings. Confronted by Newell, Steinhart then allegedly admitted to the plot and agreed to assist in the investigation.

Taped 25 to 30 Calls

Newell then listened to and taped several of the 25 to 30 telephone calls that Brown made from County Jail to Steinhart, who was in custody at the Huntington Beach Jail until his release in early February.

In those taped conversations, prosecutors allege, Brown described Robinson, Newell and Bailey and agreed to pay Steinhart $10,000 for each of their killings. Brown also told Steinhart that he had buried $500,000 in the desert and that Steinhart could dig it up and keep $200,000 for his own expenses.

Brown, who started a lucrative firm that specialized in retrieving data from damaged computer systems, collected $835,000 in insurance money after the killing of his wife in 1985, prosecutors have charged.

Prosecutors say Brown had arranged to have $600 placed in the glove compartment of his car in his Anaheim Hills driveway for Steinhart to use to buy guns. And on Feb. 13, Brown--convinced by Steinhart that Robinson and Newell had been killed--had his brother deliver $11,000 in cash to Steinhart in Westminster.

Brown also expected that Patricia Bailey would soon be killed, prosecutors allege. Steinhart had told Brown, falsely, that he had arranged for a woman to be arrested and then kill Patricia Bailey in the women's jail for the price of $10,000.

Arson Plan Alleged

Capping off the alleged scheme, prosecutors say, Brown arranged that Steinhart "should burn David Brown's motor home and house in Anaheim so that it would appear that David Brown was also a target of someone," and Steinhart would then help Brown escape from jail.

Brown also allegedly contacted Sally Jacobs, an undercover agent posing as a jail inmate, to have her tell authorities after Patricia Bailey's death that Bailey had admitted to her that she lied in her story against Brown.

Bailey testified that Brown convinced her and his daughter, Cinnamon Brown, that Linda Brown had to be killed. Cinnamon Brown, 18, who has now admitted shooting her stepmother, has spent the last 3 years in a California Youth Authority.

A former girlfriend of Steinhart, who asked not to be identified, said Wednesday that Steinhart told her tht he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam and a martial arts specialist.

The woman said that she saw Steinhart several days ago in Huntington Beach and that he told her that he was released from jail on protective custody because he was "a witness to something."

Steinhart, who has not been charged in the case, could not be reached for comment. Robinson, the prosecutor who was allegedly targeted in the plot, said that he took extra precautions in recent weeks to protect his life.

"I'm real pleased with the way (the district attorney's office) was able to handle all this," he said.

Times staff writer Richard Beene contributed to this story.

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