Lauren Sarene Key, 4, died November 8, 2000.
Copyright© Sarah Key-Marer, all rights reserved.
UPDATE 9:00 PM: Below, news links and video
UPDATE: GUILTY of FIRST DEGREE MURDER
With special circumstances of:
lying in wait and financial gain.
Sentence is mandatory: LWOP
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Francisco Gamez, II
The DA's calendar indicates that Dept. 107 has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Francisco Gamez, II. Gamez is a former LA County Sheriff, who was arrested November 14, 2012 and charged with murder in the June 17, 2012 shooting death of Armando Casillas. His bail is 4 million dollars. DDA Arisa Mattson of the Justice System Integrity Division is listed as prosecuting Gamez. This is the same division in the DA's office that prosecuted Stephanie Lazarus. DDA Paul Nunez, who co-prosecuted Lazarus, was initially assigned the Gamez case until he was promoted to Head Deputy of the East Los Angeles Office.
I do not know if this is the first day of the proceeding or a continuation of prior proceedings. I could not find a news report that mentioned the preliminary hearing.
My hope is that since there is a proceeding in Dept. 107, I will be allowed to sit in the courtroom during the Gamez prelim. I could report on the Gamez prelim and sit verdict watch in the Brown case at the same time. I won't know until I speak to the bailiff when I'm on the 9th floor.
I'm also hoping I don't have problems connecting to the Internet today.
The 9th Floor
I'm on the 9th floor.
Investigator Chris Nicely is here. He is looking very sharp today. He has on a camel colored, suede-like jacket with his brown weave pants. He is here for a Gargiulo hearing in Dept. 108 today. I won't be covering that, but I'm hoping I can get an update from either Mr. Lindner or the prosecution after it's over.
There are three jurors for the Brown case sitting in their customary seats at the very end of the hallway.
There are about a dozen people scattered throughout the entire hallway. Lawyers waiting for courtrooms to open, general public, and officers.
People come and go. Attorneys arrive for their cases in different courts. I court reporter I remember from the first Spector trial, exits one of the courtrooms at the end of the right wing carrying her reporting machine. She walks the hallway with her machine and enters Dept. 107.
Several people, one in a wheel chair, entered Dept. 107. I'm guessing that's either for the Gamez hearing or another hearing.
Francisco Gamez II
I'm inside Dept. 107. When I arrived there were counsel sitting at the prosecution table, but one of them could be a defense attorney. While I was waiting to speak to the bailiff, they all went back into chambers with the judge.
The bailiff indicated that while this proceeding is going on, I'm allowed inside the courtroom. And I'm allowed to use my laptop.
The court reporter is not Judge Lomeli's regular court reporter.
There are two women seated at the prosecution table. I don't know which one is Ms. Mattson. There is a distinguished looking, balding black man at the defense table. I expect they are waiting on the defendant to be brought up from a lower floor.
The Brown jury has not entered the courtroom yet.
Francisco Gamez II
A female sheriff arrives and both the bailiff and second deputy go back into the custody area.
There are three people seated in the second row in the gallery and three more in the back row. One of the men in the back row is in a wheelchair.
Gamez' defense attorney goes back into the custody area.
Gamez' defense attorney comes back out of the custody area.
Judge takes the bench.
DDA Rosa Alarcon and DDA Mattson for the people. The prelim will take three days of testimony. To accommodate everyone's schedule, they [may not have the prelim on consecutive days, much like the Joshua Woodward prelim].
I miss the defense attorney's name. In order to accommodate everyone's schedule, the first day will be July 7, 2015.
The defendant is taken back into custody. And that's it. Over before it started.
The 9th Floor Hallway
DDA Akemon is in the hallway. He says hello and then goes to check in with Dept. 108 for the Gargiulo hearing. If it is a Marsden motion that Gargiulo is making, it's my understanding that no one but the defendant will be in front of the court.
I'm back out in the hallway. Dept 107's jury is waiting for one juror to arrive before they can go in.
In the Gamez case, the victim's brother came over and introduced himself and asked if I was a reporter. I told him that unfortunately, I am covering the Brown case, not his brother's case. I gave him my card and where he
The late juror arrives and the group enters Dept. 107. One of the jurors brought food and it looks like they might all eat together, including the alternates.
When I was in Dept. 107, I didn't recognize DDA Alarcon. It's been a few years since I've seen her. She was third chair in the Lazarus case. She sat with the detectives at the table behind the prosecution.
Investigator Nicely exits Dept. 108 and takes a walk towards the other end of the hall. He then heads back this way.
Chatting with Investigator Nicely and DDA Akemon about the building's moth infestation.
Aron Laub arrives in the hallway. He goes into Dept. 107 and then quickly leaves.
The DA's clerk, Yvonne (sp?) who worked with DDA Hum arrives and chats with DDA Akemon and myself for a moment, then leaves.
Michael Gargiulo's defense attorney, Charles Lindner arrives and enters Dept. 108.
Olivia Cullbreath, a defendant in wrong-way freeway crash and multi-homicide deaths, is shackled to a wheelchair and brought into Dept. 108 via the hallway.
Charles Lindner's son Abe, quickly arrives and says hello.
Cullbreath is wheeled back out of Dept. 108. She's brought into the ladies restroom, or it looks like she was brought to the ladies restroom. In the little archway to the ladies restroom, there is an archway to the private hallways and elevators, so, she could have been brought back into custody that way.
I step inside Dept. 108 for a few minutes just to see if they've been able to go on the record in Gargiulo yet. DDA Akemon is in the well, along with Mr. Lindner and all the attorneys who are currently in trial.
Lindner is giving a life story to DDA Akemon and Judge Ohta appears to be listening in. Lindner continues chatting. Investigator Nicely is sitting in the middle of the gallery, 3rd row. Lindner is now bringing up a story about another attorney. Judge Ohta asks Lindner if the attorney would like this known.
While they wait, Judge Ohta asks DDA Akemon when he joined the DA's office. DDA Akemon then talks about when he joined as well as the members of his family that are in the law profession.
My guess is that they are waiting for Gargiulo. The case currently in trial, counsel are already setting up. There's a bit of noise going on in the well as Lindner and DDA Akemon chat and the prosecutor and defense attorney in the case in trial are also holding a conversation. I decide to step back outside into the hallway.
9th Floor Hallway
Lindner and his investigator come back out into the hallway.
Just waiting. Nothing is going on.
Mr. Lindner and the DA's intern are having a chat and DDA Akemon and Lindner's son Abe, are having a private conversation.
I make a quick run to the snack machine in the small room off the elevator bay. This case is going to be the death of my arteries. Right before that, the clerk came out of Dept. 108 and hung a sign on the door, "Jury Being Instructed - Do Not Enter." Lindner, his son, DDA Akemon and his intern head toward the elevators. It looks like the Gargiulo hearing won't happen for at least an hour.
I hear some noise coming from either Dept 108 or Dept 107. I can't tell.
I take that back. It could have been coming from Dept. 106. Dept. 105 is dark. A woman came down the hallway earlier and entered Judge Fidler's courtroom. Yes, it was from Dept. 106.
The hallway is empty ... except for me. Then jurors from one of the center courtrooms exit directly to the elevators and it's all quiet again.
I've just been told there is a verdict in the Brown case and that it will be read at 1:00 PM.
WILL BE READ AT 1:00 PM
Local ABC 7 News is here. The lovely Miriam Hernandez and Vanna with their camera man. He showed up first. I've been a big fan of KFI reporter Eric Leonard long before I first met him at the Robert Blake trial. He's here for his station. Amazing reporter Terri Keith is here from Citi News. Another cameraman shows up, but there will be only one camera I expect.
Sarah and two of her girlfriends arrive.
Judge Lomeli sticks his head out of Dept. 107 and asks if counsel has arrived yet. The alternates ask the court if they can go in. Judge Lomeli tells them in a few minutes.
A third cameraman showed up. Shannon Farren from KFI arrives.
Several bailiffs head down toward this end of the hallway and enter Dept. 107.
A fourth cameraman shows up.
DDA Hum and Detective Leslie arrive. They head on in to Dept. 107.
Claudia from KNX is here. A reporter from the LA Times that I've never met before is here.
Sarah's husband Greg arrives as well as Jane Robison from the DA's office.
DDA Hum comes out of Dept. 107 and speaks to Sarah and her friends.
DDA Akemon is here with a few other people.
The bailiff comes out and wants to make sure they have all the alternates.
Mr Laub arrives. The bailiff said they would start seating in a few minutes. Still cameras were allowed in first.
I have not seen Patty Brown and don't know if she will get here in time.
The media is let in first. We are sitting in the first row. Sarah and her family are let in next and sitting right behind me.
The bailiff asks Sarah if she is expecting any more family. She replies no. General seating is now allowed in.
Once the court goes on the record I will not publish until right after the verdict is read.
The bailiff warns the gallery to set their phones on mute or vibrate.
Bringing the defendant out now.
The court asks if the alternates are outside. Judge Lomeli takes the bench. The bailiff states that everything is all set to go.
Mr. Laub is standing. DDA Hum and Detective Leslie are standing. The judge asks if the defendant is getting dressed. The bailiff states he is coming up.
The bailiff warns the gallery to maintain their composure. If anyone finds they are [are about to get upset?] please step outside.
Alright. Lets go Brown, the bailiff calls into the custody area.
Brown comes out. He's at the defense table.
On the record. The alternates are brought into the court room and they take their seats.
The jury comes in.
We are on the record people v. Cameron John Brown. Juror #7 foreman. They've reached a verdict. The bailiff hands it to the court.
Guilty of murder in the first degree.
Carried out for financial gain to be true.
Lying in wait to be true.
Brown leans into speak to his counsel.
The jurors are poled.
Judge thanks the jury for their service. And states they were one of the best panel he's ever had. Their dilegence, patience and persistence.
Sometimes the attorney would like to get comments from the jurors, or the media want to get comments, you're not obligated to do that.
The jury is excused and leaves the courtroom. Those that want can wait in the hallway.
Forty-five days for sentencing. Brown won't answer the judge on sentencing, otherwise, it's going to occur in the 20 day period. [Watch the ABC video to hear what Brown said.]
I will exit the courtroom to see if there are any jurors that will talk.
June 19th for sentencing.
I'm on the 12th floor. The jury foreperson spoke but I wasn't able to record all of it on my phone.
Then DDA Hum and Detective Leslie spoke. The sentence is a mandatory LWOP, life without the possibility of parole, because of the special circumstances.
Brown had no reaction when the verdict was read.
Sarah is sorry that she forgot to mention Josh in her media statement.
You will probably have the juror's statements and Sarah's statements in the mainstream press long before I have it uploaded.
Coming exclusively to T&T soon: Lauren's drawings.
Mr. Laub never came to the 12th floor to speak to the media.
I want to thank all of T&T's readers for your continued support. I've followed this case for a long time. I'm sure everyone involved is grateful that this jury was able to reach a verdict.
UPDATE 9:00 PM
ABC Local 7 News - Cameron Brown Found Guilty [with video]
LA Times - Man Found Guilty of Throwing 4yr old Daughter
Daily Breeze - Jurors in Third Trial Convict Cameron Brown
Daily News - Cameron Brown Found Guilty
KTLA - Father Convicted of Murder [with video]
[Yes, that's me with the gray hair hugging Sarah in this video. Sprocket]
NewsWest9 (AP) - Man Convicted of Killing Daughter
KFI - John & Ken Interview Detective Jeffrey Leslie [audio]
(starts about 25% of the way in)
KFI - Eric Leonard Report