Monday, July 27, 2009


This page was last updated on August 11, 2016 at 11:42 am PT. Sprocket

In his third trial, Cameron Brown was convicted of first degree murder on May 13, 2015. The jury also found true the special allegations of murder for financial gain and lying in wait. Brown was sentenced to LWOP on September 18, 2015. On October 15, 2015, Brown was transferred from LA County Jail to the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation CDCR. His inmate number is AY0556.

People v. Cameron Brown Case #BA255206
LASD Booking # 7910668   
Victim: Lauren Sarene Key, 4
Defendant: Cameron Brown, biological father

Sometime after 12 Noon, on November 8th, 2000, Cameron Brown picked up his four-year-old daughter Lauren Sarene Key from preschool earlier than usual.  It was a regularly scheduled, court ordered visitation.  Hours later, Lauren ended up dead at the bottom of Inspiration Point, a dangerous 120 foot cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

Brown was arrested three years later on November 16th, 2003 and charged with 187, felony murder. There were two special allegations: That Brown murdered his child for financial gain (eliminating his court mandated child support of over $1,000 a month) and lying in wait.  Because of the special allegations, Brown was denied bail and remained in custody every since.

The prosecution alleged Brown, a baggage handler for American Airlines, threw his daughter off a cliff for several reasons: he hated Sarah Key, Lauren's mother; he never wanted children --tried to pressure Sarah into an abortion-- and for financial gain.  The monthly court ordered child support, amounting to 40 percent of his salary was crippling him.

The defense contended that this was a tragic accident and Brown did not kill his child.  Brown's defense (in the second trial and third) said he loved his daughter and wanted to spend more time with her.  The defense presented in his second trial has been that he was sitting down near the cliff edge when Lauren accidentally fell to her death.

On the last day of her life, little Lauren Key started crying inconsolably when she learned that her biological father would be picking her up from school.  Her continued crying so alarmed her teachers that after a few hours, they called Sarah so that Lauren could talk to her.  It didn't appear to help.  A few minutes after that conversation, Sarah decided to ignore the court order and take her daughter home.  When she called the school back to tell them she was coming to get Lauren, she was told it was too late.  Brown had arrived early for his daughter and they were already gone. 

Brown had two trials that ended in hung juries. The first trial was held in the Torrance courthouse and ended in August 2006.

The second trial was in downtown Department 107, Judge Pastor's courtroom that ended October 2009. In the second trial, the jury informed the court they were deadlocked. In open court, the jury foreman told the court that no juror voted for first degree. However, they did not complete the jury form documentation for that charge. It's my understanding that Judge Pastor ruled the case a mistrial and did not vacate the first degree charge because the verdict forms were not completed and signed.  It's my understanding the defense appealed all the way to the California Supreme Court. Those appeals were denied. 

In the first two trials, every juror voted guilty, however they could not agree on the degree of Brown's guilt (first degree, second degree or involuntary manslaughter).

In each trial,  how the voting stacked up:
First Trial
2 - first degree
8 - second degree
2- involuntary manslaughter

Second Trial
6 - second degree
6 - involuntary manslaughter

The third trial was in the same courtroom as the second, but before a different judge. The trial started on March 18 and ended on May 15, 2015. The third jury convicted Brown of first degree murder with the special circumstances being proven of murder for financial gain and lying in wait. Brown was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on September 18, 2015.

Prosecution:  DDA Craig Hum
Defense 3rd Trial:  Aron Laub - removed 4/2014 then reinstated a few months later.
Defense 2nd Trial: Pat Harris
Defense 1st Trial: Mark Geragos

Major Case Players
Cameron Brown -- Defendant, charged with 187 felony murder.
Lauren Sarene Key, 4 -- Victim, biological child of defendant.
Sarah Key-Marer -- Victim's mother.
Greg Marer -- Sarah's husband.
Patty Brown -- Cameron's wife, married in March 2000.
Ted Kaldis -- Patty Brown's fraternal twin brother.
Jeffrey Leslie -- Lead detective, LA County Sheriff.
Danny Smith -- LA County Sheriff and Det. Leslie's partner [retired].


Days Court Was Dark
3/31/15 - Legal Holiday, Cesar Chavez Day
4/6-10/15 Entire week off
4/29/15 - Afternoon session

4/30/15 - Defense Request
5/01/15 - Defense Request


03/18/15 Day 1 - Prescreening of Jurors
03/19/15 Day 2 (Juror prescreening; Did not attend)
03/23/15 Day 3 - Voir Dire, First Day
03/24/15 Day 4 - Voir Dire, Second Day
03/25/15 Day 5 - Opening Statements
03/26/15 Day 6 - Prosecution Case Continues
03/27/15 Cameron Brown Trial Updage - Court Cancelled for Today
03/30/15 Day 7 - Prosecution Case Continues
04/01/15 Day 8 - Prosecution Case Continues
04/02/15 Day 9 - Prosecution Case Continues
04/03/15 Day 10 - Prosecution Case Continues
04/13/15 Day 11 - Prosecution Case Continues
04/14/15 Day 12 - Prosecution Case Continues 
04/15/15 Day 13 - Prosecution Case Continues 
04/16/15 Day 14 - Prosecution Case Continues
04/17/15 Day 15 - Prosecution Case Continues
04/20/15 Day 16 - Prosecution Case Continues
04/21/15 Day 17 - Delay in the Case
04/22/15 Day 18 - Prosecution Case Continues
04/23/15 Day 19 - Prosecution Case Continues
04/24/15 Day 20 - Prosecution Case Continues
04/24/15 - Cameron Brown 3rd Trial Q&A
04/27/15 Day 21 - Prosecution Case Continues
04/28/15 Day 22 - Prosecution Case & Defense Case Starts
04/29/15 Day 23 - Defense Case Continues
05/04/15 Day 24 - Defense Case Continues
05/05/15 Day 25 - Defense Case Continues
05/06/15 Day 26 - Prosecution Rebuttal Case Continues
05/07/15 Day 27 - Jury Site Visit - No T&T Coverage
05/08/15 - Cameron Brown 3rd Trial - Update
05/11/15 Day 28 - Closing Arguments Begin
05/12/15 Day 29 - Deliberations Day 1
***9:03 AM - 10:53 AM = 1HR 50MIN
**11:12 AM - 11:52 AM = 40MIN
***1:33 PM - 3:45 PM = 2HRS 13MIN
***TOTAL for Day 1 = 4 HRS 43MIN
05/13/15 Day 30 - Deliberations Day 2 -VERDICT
***9:19 AM - 10:54 AM = 2HRS 35MIN
05/14/15 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial Aftermath
06/19/15 Cameron Brown Post-Verdict Hearing
07/17/15 Cameron Brown Post-Verdict Hearing 2
09/18/15 Cameron Brown to be Sentenced Today
09/18/15 Cameron Brown Sentenced to LWOP
10/03/15 Brown Moving to CA Prison Soon?
10/05/15 Brown's LA County Status is SP4
10/15/15 Cameron Brown off to State Prison
02/20/16 Cameron Brown Appeal Status
08/11/16 Cameron Brown Appeal Status - Brief Filed
08/29/16 Remembering Lauren
02/27/17 Cameron Brown Appeal - Case Fully Briefed 
10/1817 Cameron Brown's Appeal for Murder Conviction NEW!
11/08/17 Seventeen Years Ago Today...

Mainstream Media Reports on Sentencing
AP via Yahoo News
Daily Breeze
LA Times
KTLA Interview with Detective Jeff Leslie
Daily Mail, UK article
Daily Mail, Video

Video: In Loving Memory of Lauren

07/27/12 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 1
09/21/12 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 2
10/02/12 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 3 and Kelly Soo Park News
10/12/12 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 4
02/22/13 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 5 & Courthouse Stories
03/21/13 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 6 & Dropping in on the Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter Murder Case
05/02/13 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 7
06/21/13 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 8
07/02/13 Cameron Brown Update 
07/11/13 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 9 
08/28/13 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 10 
09/20/13 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 11 
10/25/13 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 12 
11/14/13 Gerhard Becker & Cameron Brown Updates 
11/15/14 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 13 & Mark Berndt Takes a Plea 
01/10/14 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 14 
02/05/14 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 15 
05/16/14 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial: Case Update 
05/30/14 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial: Pretrial 16 
06/27/14 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial: Pretrial 17
09/25/14 Samuel Little, Cameron Brown 18, & Michael Gargiulo 21
01/27/15 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial: Pretrial 19
02/27/15 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial: Pretrial 20
03/11/15 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial: People's 1101b Motion
03/12/15 Cameron Brown 3rd Trial: Pretrail 21 

3rd Trial Other Media Reports
05/07/15 LA Times - Jury Site Visit
05/07/15 Inside Edition - Dad on Trial

11/14/13 Huffington Post - Imprisoned a Decade With No Conviction 
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
Daily Mail - Father Guilty of Murder [with video] 
Inside Edition - Short segment includes video of Lauren

Charging Document
People's 1101b Motion to Admit Other Evidence
Defense Opposition Motion to 1101b, Prior Acts
People's Response to Defense Opposition Motion to 1101b

People's Motion for Jury to Visit Crime Scene 
Defense Opposition Motion to Jury Visit

People's Motion to Exclude Defense Witness Testimony
Defense Opposition to People's Motion to Exclude

Defense Motions in Limine
People's Opposition to Defense Motions in Limine

Other Trial Documents Presented
911 Call
LAX Airport parking garage conversation between defendant & Sarah Key-Marer

Personal Videos Taken at Abalone Cove to Inspiration Point,
during the second trial.
09/14/09 Our Trip to Inspiration Point
Inspiration Point: Entering the parking lot
Inspiration Point: Trail from Abalone Cove
Inspiration Point: Beach
Inspiration Point: Trail up to the point
Inspiration Point: Edge of the cliff


Day 1: July 27th, 2009 Opening Statements Part I
Day 1: July 27th, 2009 Opening Statements Part II:
Day 2: July 28th, 2009 Afternoon session
Day 3: July 29th, 2009 Afternoon session
Day 4: July 30th, 2009 All Day
Day 5: July 31st, 2009 Afternoon session
Day 6: August 3rd, 2009 Part I
Day 6: August 3rd, 2009 Part II
Day 7: August 4th, 2009 All Day
Day 8: August 5th, 2009
Day 9: August 6th, 2009 Afternoon session
Day 10: August 7th, 2009 Part I
Day 10: August 7th, 2009 Part II
Day 11: August 11th, 2009 Part I
Day 11: August 11th, 2009 Part II
Day 12: August 12th, 2009
Day 13: August 13th, 2009
Day 14: August 14th, 2009
(Detailed trial coverage ended - Sprocket)

09/04/09 Retrial Update & Conversation with Alan Jackson
09/10/09 Cameron Brown Retrial: Status Update II
09/11/09 Cameron Brown Retrial: Status Update III
09/14/09 Our Trip to Inspiration Point
09/17/09 Cameron Brown Retrial: Closing Arguments, Part I
09/18/09 Cameron Brown Retrial: Closing Arguments, Part II
09/18/09 Cameron Brown Retrial: Closing Arguments, Part III
09/24/09 Cameron Brown Retrial: Juror Replaced
09/29/09 Cameron Brown Retrial: No Hung Jury, Yet.
10/01/09 Cameron Brown Retrial: New Developments 
10/02/09 Cameron Brown Retrial: Still in Limbo
10/05/09 Cameron Brown Retrial: Mistrial Request Denied
10/05/09 Cameron Brown Retrial : VERDICT!
10/07/09 Cameron Brown Retrial Aftermath
11/08/09 Nine Years Ago Today...

05/27/08 Cameron Brown Pretrial Hearing 5/14/2008
05/30/08 Cameron Brown Pretrial Hearing 5/14/2008, Part II
06/14/08 Cameron Brown Pretrial Hearing 6/13/2008
06/21/08 Scott Peterson Civil; Cameron Brown Retrial
08/15/08 Spector Pretrial, Cameron Brown, Etc. 08/14/2008
07/24/09 Cameron Brown Retrial

The Daily Breeze - Closing Arguments 2nd Trial
Denise Nix produced the most detailed, comprehensive notes of closing arguments. Alas, the Daily Breeze took these reports off line, so I deleted the broken links to Denise's six part series.

Other Media
09/18/2009 ID Blog -- Did Cameron Brown toss his daughter off a cliff?