Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Day 30 - Jury Deliberations Continue

Lauren Sarene Key, 4, died November 8, 2000.
Copyright© Sarah Key-Marer, all rights reserved.

UPDATE 9:00 PM: Below, news links and video
With special circumstances of:
lying in wait and financial gain.
Sentence is mandatory: LWOP
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
6:30 AM
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
8:20 AM
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.

8:31 AM
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.

8:38 AM
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
8:45 AM
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.

8:53 AM
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.

Cameron Brown
8:55 AM
The Brown jury has not entered the courtroom yet.

Francisco Gamez II
8:57 AM
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.

9:01 AM
Gamez' defense attorney goes back into the custody area.

9:06 AM
Gamez' defense attorney comes back out of the custody area.

9:07 AM
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
9:11 AM
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.

9:13 AM
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

9:19 AM
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.

 9:25 AM
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.

9:31 AM
Investigator Nicely exits Dept. 108 and takes a walk towards the other end of the hall. He then heads back this way.

9:53 AM
Chatting with Investigator Nicely and DDA Akemon about the building's moth infestation.

9:54 AM
Aron Laub arrives in the hallway.  He goes into Dept. 107 and then quickly leaves.

9:57 AM
The DA's clerk, Yvonne (sp?) who worked with DDA Hum arrives and chats with DDA Akemon and myself for a moment, then leaves.

10:15 AM
Michael Gargiulo's defense attorney, Charles Lindner arrives and enters Dept. 108.

10:16 AM
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.

10:19 AM
Charles Lindner's son Abe, quickly arrives and says hello.

10:20 AM
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.

10:28 AM
Michael Gargiulo
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

10:41 AM
Lindner and his investigator come back out into the hallway.

10:55 AM
Just waiting. Nothing is going on.

11:00 AM
Mr. Lindner and the DA's intern are having a chat and DDA Akemon and Lindner's son Abe, are having a private conversation.

11:04 AM
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.

11:29 AM
I hear some noise coming from either Dept 108 or Dept 107. I can't tell.

11:32 AM
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.

11:57 AM
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.

12:02 PM
I've just been told there is a verdict in the Brown case and that it will be read at 1:00 PM.


12:42 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.

12:48 PM
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.

1:37 PM
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.

1:44 PM 
Brown had no reaction when the verdict was read.

1:48 PM
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.

2:12 PM
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.

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


GinaM said...

Let's just say Cameron will never get on his surfboard ever again.

Justice for little Lauren!

GinaM said...



amulbunny's random thoughts said...

There is justice in this world. Thank goodness for a jury with open ears and eyes.

May the memory of Lauren never be lost!!

GinaM said...

Good. I'm glad for her mother, Sarah. Now she has closure, Lauren can rest in peace and Mr. Brown will soon realize his beatings, etc. that he complained about in prison are only just the beginning of his well-deserved woes.

Unknown said...


BusyWife said...

Is there a mandatory sentence or does the judge have discretion? Did Patty make it on time?

Great job, Sprocket!

GinaM said...

Hat's off to you, Sprockey. Your dedication to these trials is amazing. I'm sure that Mr. Sprocket is very proud of you.

What was Cameron's reaction when the verdict was read?

Jazz4111 said...


Jazz4111 said...


bella said...

This just made my day! Finally justice for beautiful little Lauren, who had the misfortune of having a sociopath for a father. I'm sure Sarah is relieved, she can have some closure, and he will never hurt another child again. Praise be to God!

NancyB said...

Hallelujah! I'm so happy for Sarah and what a wonderful jury. Betsy, your coverage was so very much appreciated.

Jobeth66 said...

So glad to see justice finally done. Thank you for your diligence in covering this, it is truly appreciated! May Lauren RIP, and Sarah finally have some peace knowing that her daughter's murderer has faced justice.

David In TN said...

Thanks for all of your work covering this trial. I couldn't keep from noting that Lauren would have been 18.

george said...

In the second trial no one voted for first degree murder. In the third trial the guilty verdict was unanimous. In your opinion, how do you explain the different outcomes?
I believe I know your answer, but do you think that the prosecution proved its case?
And as always, thank you for your diligence in keeping us informed. I do hope justice has been served.

Ronni said...

This is awesome! Son of a Siberian Sasquatch needs to rot!

Sprocket said...

Thank you everyone for your support and words of encouragement. I really needed that. This trial was quite draining for me. I think this trial was harder on me than the Lazarus trial, and I spent more hours of the day, working on writing about what happened in Lazarus. This trial was almost twice as long as Lazarus. I'm also 3 years older, and a lot more tired at the end of the day.

Like I mentioned in my post, the sentence, LWOP, is mandatory. It's written into the law. The sentence is LWOPecause of the special circumstances that were proven. Those special circumstances brought the sentence up from 25 years to life to LWOP.

Brown's reaction:
There was no reaction from Brown, at all. Even one of the cameramen commented on that on the 12th floor right before the jury, Sarah, DDA Craig Hum and Jeffrey Leslie spoke to the media.

By the way, the media only asked DDA Hum questions about the facts of the case [because they did not attend the trial]. I asked Detective Leslie a question so he got to speak, too. He never gave up. He kept working the case, trying to find new witnesses, and he did.

Continued in next post:

Sprocket said...

Continued from above comment:

Difference between 2nd and 3rd trial:
1. Well number one, the jury. I remember after the second hung jury, I was on the Temple Street Plaza when one of the older black jurors hugged Sarah. He kept saying that the younger kids, didn't get it. He was talking about the younger jurors on the panel. What I got from that was, the younger jurors voted for involuntary manslaughter and the older jurors voted for second degree.

I've said many times that I've been told that a case is won or lost in voir dire. DDA Hum, in his voir dire questioning, ensured that every juror had experience being around children.

2. Additional witnesses.
After the second trial ended, Detective Leslie found two new prosecution witnesses. They testified on Day 16. These witnesses were very important to the people's case.

3. 2nd Trial Defense Evidence Ruled inadmissible.

During the second trial, the defense showed the jurors video of their bio-mechanical expert, dropping a 45 pound "water dummy" off of Inspiration Point, to show the jurors how Lauren's body could have interacted with the cliff face.

In the third trial, the prosecution successfully argued this evidence was inadmissible, because there were no scientific studies done with these devices that could replicate how a human body would interact with the cliff.

4. Dr. Hayes [prosecution witness] vs Dr. Siegmund [defense witness] the battle of the bio-mechanical experts.

On the day before the defense expert was set to testify, he noticed something in Dr. Hayes supplemental worksheets and extra diagrams that he thought was in error or omitted purposefully.

What the issue was, was Dr. Siegmund found in the detailed spreadsheets of Dr. Hayes, the calculations for a run/trip off the cliff, of a speed of 11.3 ft per second. He did not include the path of that scenario, in his presentations to the jury. The calculations showed that Lauren would have cleared the upper cliff outcropping and made a single impact on the lower shelf. Exactly where Lauren would have landed with a push/throw.

This was sprung on the prosecution at the last minute. The court ruled that Dr. Siegmund could not testify that day on this because Dr. Hayes [who had already testified] was not cross examined on it, first, when he testified. The court ruled it could not be used to impeach Dr. Hayes. The prosecution had to have an opportunity to present these issues to their witness and possibly recall Dr. Hayes in their case in chief.

What the prosecution did, was call Dr. Hayes as witness in their rebuttal case. This was new.

[In the second trial, along with Det. Leslie, Dr. Chinwah was called as a rebuttal witness.]

Dr. Hayes testified that they rejected the run possibility outright because it was physically impossible. Brown is alleged to have told detectives, that he was four feet from the edge of the cliff when Lauren fell. Dr. Hayes made his calculations from a 12 ft by 8 ft space on the "U" shaped 20 degree slope, because there was a very small area that Lauren could have fallen from, and ended up in the east inlet.

The problem with the run and throwing a rock theory, is that Dr. Hayes testified experienced sprinters need so many feet of running to get up to 11.3 ft per second. There wasn't enough space, for Lauren to run and get up to that speed, then trip on the edge and go over head first.

On top of that, because of the forward momentum, rotation, they know that Lauren would have traveled an additional 240 degrees, meaning, she would not have hit the rocks on her head but on her back. So the run theory, and how she would have fallen, would not have matched the injuries.

I think all of those factors played into the different verdict.

Was the right verdict reached?
12 jurors were unanimous in reaching a first degree verdict. That's all that matters.

Unknown said...

Cameron Brown's not going to get the TLC he's used to in LA County jail. He'll write complaints, and corrections officers will write chronos. (That's like nasty demerits on your cumulative file, and privileges can be taken away, including commissary priv.)

Too bad he will be in a SHU, 'cause he won't be popular.

Is restitution being ordered, so that he cannot have a balance on his commissary account? 'Cause those inmates sure like their Cup 'O Noodles and Kit Kats and special cards to send home for the holidays.

He could end up anywhere, I'm sure he will not end up at Pelican Bay. Pleasant Valley, Susanville and Tehachapi all have SHUs with child molesters, child endangerers and child killers. Most of the California Correctional Facilities have SHUs.

Sprocket said...

I'm not positive about this but, I believe Brown was sued in civil court by Sarah Key-Marer and won. That was some time ago.

I'm not sure what insurance company paid (whether it was through work, etc.), but if memory serves, I believe it was somewhere over $300,000.00.

BusyWife said...

Sorry, a bunch of questions :)

Were there any Brown supporters that you know of at the verdict?

Did they film the verdict being read to him?

Did the prosecution have a prevailing theory if little Lauren was pushed or thrown based on the science?

Sprocket said...

There were no Brown supporters in the gallery. Brown's wife Patty was not there for the 3rd trial (except for the defense arguments) and was not there for the reading of the verdict.

Yes, the verdict was filmed being read by the court reporter. I'm betting the camera was on Brown the entire time.

The prosecution's bio-mechanical expert testified, based on the injuries, and the area where Brown stated he and Lauren were, proved that Lauren had to have been pushed/thrown off the cliff at 12.5 ft per second.

Sprocket said...

Mainstream media news stories have been added to the bottom of the post. A couple of the stories have video. You can see which outlets had errors in their reporting.

When I was in the courtroom, there was a bit of a commotion with reporters leaving before the sentencing date was set. They were in a rush to get up to the 12th floor to get their video cameras set up for the presser and to speak to the jury.

Because of that, I did no hear Brown say, "I'm innocent," but I did hear him say that he was remaining silent.

After the press conference, I spoke to Sarah. She asked me what I thought of the verdict. Sarah indicated she was shocked by the first degree verdict. She thought it would be second degree.

As Lauren's mother, even all these years later, my sense is, that it is difficult for Sarah to wrap her head around the idea that Brown deliberately took her daughter up there to kill her.

Most people wouldn't believe it or understand Brown's actions either.

It's my understanding that Patty Brown still believes strongly in her husband's innocence.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised by the first degree murder verdict too. I thought it was second degree at best because it's hard to prove that Brown deliberately pushed his daughter, how own flesh and blood, off a cliff. That it was an accident, that he was just a negligent parent, or that he got angry and in the heat of moment pushed her, are easier to swallow.

Between, I would like to donate money to your blog for all your hard work, but is there a way to do it anonymously?

Sprocket said...


Dr. Hayes testified that he worked backwards, starting from Lauren's injuries. How did she get the specific injuries and end up in the east inlet. Dr. Hayes showed biomechanically that to sustain the injuries she did, she had to have had a single impact with the cliff shelf below and then land in the water. What speed did she have to travel, for that to happen. Lauren had to have been traveling at 12.5 ft per second. The only way that could happen is through a push/throw event.

Thank you very much for wanting to donate to my trial reporting efforts. You can do so through the Paypal link on the right side of the blog. Your information will not be published in any way.

If you have further questions, you can email me directly. Just click on my pen name "Sprocket" under the title "Contributors" and that will take you to a page where you can email me.

David In TN said...


Thanks for your informed comment about Cameron Brown's future home. His friends for life will be child molesters and child killers.

I had hoped Phil Spector would be put with Charles Manson but no such luck. Manson is in Corcoran, Spector at Stockton.

The Stockton prison has a section for inmates with health problems.

John Floyd Thomas, the serial killer whose guilty plea and sentencing was covered by T&T is also at Corcoran.

I just checked the Inmate Search at California Department of Corrections for the above information.

Gregg the Obscure said...

Slightly off-topic, but what nut named a prison Pleasant Valley?

Sprocket said...

Pleasant Valley is an unincorporated community in El Dorado County, in California. Since a prison is located there, it was named after the community.

That's the best I can do for an explanation.