On one side of the courtroom will sit the relatives of David Brown, convinced that the defendant is the unwitting victim of trickery.
"All I can say is they've got a liar for a witness, and I despise a liar," said Arthur Brown of Carson, the father of the defendant, in reference to Patti Bailey.
"He's my son--I'm not worried exactly, just concerned," Arthur Brown added. "But I'm sure that everything will be right, if the Lord has His way."
On the other side will be the relatives of the murder victim, who say they feel betrayed by the manipulative Brown.
"He just better not get away with it," said Alan Bailey of Riverside, the victim's twin brother. "I know he's going to try everything he can, and he doesn't care who he hurts in the process. But he just better not get away with it. I want him in jail for the rest of his life--the worst place he could be. Period." Prosecutors will rely largely on the testimony of the two people who may have been closest to the defendant:
* Cinnamon Brown. Then 14, she was found on the night of the murder in the back-yard doghouse, apparently incoherent from a drug overdose. She left a suicide note that said she was sorry for killing her stepmother.
She now says, however, that her father convinced her that Linda Bailey and her brother, Alan Bailey, planned to kill him to gain control of his lucrative business. Brown ran a firm called Data Recovery Inc. that retrieved lost computer information from damaged systems. Investigators believe it had several lucrative private and government contracts and made Brown millions of dollars.
After Cinnamon Brown agreed to cooperate, authorities tape-recorded a 1988 jailhouse visit by Brown in which she pleaded with him to let her tell "the truth" about the killing because she was tired of imprisonment. But Brown said she could not, because "we'd all go to jail."
* Patti Bailey. Seventeen years old at the time of the murder, Bailey had lived in Anaheim with her sister, Linda, and Brown because of family problems in Riverside. She has testified that Brown told her since she was 11 that he would someday marry her, and they later had sexual relations while Linda was away. (Married seven times, Brown had also dated a third Bailey sister.)
The young woman with the childlike voice was devoted to Brown, authorities and relatives say. That devotion, authorities assert, translated into murder in March, 1985, when she helped Cinnamon carry out the killing after weeks, perhaps months, of plotting between them and Brown.
Earlier, the three had talked among themselves about myriad ways of of killing Linda--hitting her over the head, putting an electrical appliance in her bathtub, pushing her out of a moving car, or running her over, officials charge. Finally, at Brown's directive, it was allegedly decided to have Cinnamon shoot Linda as she slept, then feign the suicide.
Cinnamon maintains that her father assured her that she would spend little or no time behind bars because of her youth.
But she was ultimately sentenced to 25 years to life in a California Youth Authority facility in Camarillo while Brown secretly married Patti sometime after the killing and moved into a spacious house in Anaheim Hills that he had bought with cash, officials say. He and Patti had a baby, Heather, in 1987.
Prosecutors say they made no deals for the testimony of either Cinnamon or Patti, who also was sentenced to 25 years to life in the California Youth Authority. But defense attorney Richard Schwartzberg of Santa Ana counters that both young women are willing to essentially perjure themselves against his client for the sake of leniency.
"Everyone knows there's a deal," he asserted. "Within an hour of the verdict--or some other very short time--I can guarantee you both of them will be paroled out of that prison, never to be seen again."