SANTA ANA — When she was an 11-year-old girl with no place to go, Patti Bailey testified Monday, her brother-in-law took her into his home and talked of marrying her someday. Fondling soon followed, she said.
At age 15, Bailey said, she and brother-in-law David Brown, then 31, began having sexual intercourse--usually once a week, while her sister was in the shower or out shopping.
And at 17, Bailey said, she was so devoted to the man who gave her "everything" that she stood over her sister's bed one night in 1985 in their Garden Grove home and pointed a loaded handgun at the sleeping woman, prepared to shoot her to death.
Bailey didn't pull the trigger. "I couldn't do it," she testified. But a month later, 14-year-old Cinnamon Brown, David Brown's daughter, did. Brown's fifth wife was dead, and Patti Bailey was finally able to "keep David for myself," she testified.
Bailey, now 22 and incarcerated at the California Youth Authority at Camarillo after pleading guilty to murder for her participation in her sister's 1985 killing, took the stand Monday as a star witness against the man who is now her husband.
David Brown, 38, is now in his second week of trial in Superior Court on murder charges for allegedly masterminding the killing of his wife, 24-year-old Linda Brown.
After his wife's death, Brown collected $835,000 on his wife's insurance policies and then secretly married Patti Bailey. The couple, who lived together in Anaheim Hills until their joint arrest in September, 1988, have a 2-year-old daughter. The child now lives with David Brown's parents in Carson.
Shooting her husband an occasional glance as she testified in a shaky voice, Bailey said that Brown filled a void in her life when he took her into his home. She had left her poverty-ridden Riverside home because of problems with an alcoholic mother and a brother who molested her, she testified.
"He was everything," she said of Brown. "He was warm, he was loving, he was sensitive when I needed someone."
Bailey conceded that she was confused about the idea of having sexual relation's with her sister's husband but said David Brown never forced her. After her experience with her own brother, Bailey testified, "I just thought that's the way it went . . . in a normal house."
Bailey's version of events in her daylong testimony echoed many points made under oath last week by Cinnamon Brown. Among the points she corroborated were Brown's instructions to use a pillow to muffle the sound of the gunshot and his wake-up call on March 19, 1985, with the words: "It has to be tonight." And like Cinnamon Brown, Bailey also testified that David Brown convinced her that his wife was plotting to do him harm--ostensibly to take over his lucrative business. She helped kill her sister, Bailey testified, "to protect David."
But under cross-examination, which will continue today, defense attorney Gary Pohlson sought to show that his client was not the instigator of Bailey's jealous plot and that she was only pinning the blame on him now to reduce her time behind bars.