Cinnamon Brown

I have spent the last several days running down my list of cases to research before blogging about them. I actually have about fifteen cases that I researched and made notes for but did not post about. Why? Sadly they seemed so "routine."  I often see people complaining about for instance shows like 48 Hours and Dateline that "it is always a case of the husband." or things such as that.  For there to be a spousal murder case it seems as if any more there has to be a multi-layered plot in order for there to be generated interest.  It is sad, but it is also true. In fact, it is likely that I will end up doing one blog where many of the stories are told at once.  This story however, is one that I have been fascinated with for years. When I first became interested in true crime stories, like many, my favorite author was Ann Rule.  Admittedly I feel as her fame grew that she tended to put more of her own bias' into the stories.  Now some could argue that I do that here, and they would be correct in a way, but I do try to tell the story as the facts show and when I give my opinion it is clearly my opinion and not weaved in and nearly labeled as a fact.  But, enough about her and on to this story.  So this one was one of the early stories I read in true crime.  It also generated a mini-series on television (remember in the late 80's and 90's when those were big) that had one of my favorite underrated actors, Clancy Brown (even if he did play the bad guy here).  Even by today's standards of crime this case had rather twisty twists in it.

On March 19, 1985 Linda Bailey Brown, a Santa Ana California resident, was shot to death in the home she shared with her husband, David, teenage sister, Patti, 14 year old stepdaughter, Cinnamon and her infant daughter.  When police interviewed David he stated that he had left and gone to a convenient store because he was tired of the bickering between his wife and daughter and that when he returned he found Linda dead.  Several hours later Cinnamon was found in the family dog house in the back yard.  She was clinking to life, and a note.  The note all but confessed to the crime of shooting Linda and it also expressed remorse. Cinnamon had taken a near lethal dose of prescription medication and it was speculated early on that had she not vomited after taking the medication she would have died.

In September of 1986 Cinnamon was technically sentenced to 27 years to life for the murder of her step-mother but because she was a juvenile she was sent to a youth facility until no later than the age of 25.  At least one investigator in the DA's office, Jay Newell, just did not think that the murder of Linda Brown quite went down the way everyone said it did and decided to keep an eye on things. For one he had to learn to keep his distance from Cinnamon until she was no longer a minor.  My research did not say this but I suspect that one of the reasons for this was the fact that David Brown was likely entitled to be present or at the very least informed  when Cinnamon was interviewed or spoken to due to her age.  So Newell stayed watchful and patient. He finally approached Cinnamon in July of 1988 after she turned 18.  She was already it seems frustrated with the lack of communication she had received from her father since she was incarcerated. As time had gone on his contact with her had dwindled but Newell knew many things that Cinnamon did not know was going on in the outside world.  

Soon after Linda's death and Cinnamon's incarceration David had inherited over 800,000 from various insurance policies he had gotten on the 23 year old Linda.  Just after that, he bought a new house and moved himself, his daughter with Linda, and Linda's sister, Patti into the new home.  David was already known for being attracted to the young girls, and apparently his charm made him attractive to them so it was of little surprise to most that David and Patti were now in a relationship.  In fact, they secretly wed in July of 1986, just a few months before Cinnamon was sentence and she had not been told. Patti would go on to give David yet another daughter, from this, now his 6th marriage.  

So in July of 1988 when Newell started filling in some blanks for Cinnamon she soon agreed to talk.  At this time Cinnamon tells authorities that over the several months preceding Linda's murder that David and been speaking to her and Patti about getting rid of Linda. He convinced them that Linda was trying to ruin him financially and just all but needed to go.  By this time he had already started an affair with the 17 year old Patti.  In February of 1985 Patti walked into Linda's room with the intent to kill her.  When she was unable to do so it seems that Patti and David decided to press Cinnamon more.  They convinced her that she would not go to jail because she was so young. When the plan was set into motion David had also given Cinnamon a bottle of pills and told her to write a note expressing remorse and take the pills and go hide.  David had convinced Cinnamon that the expression of remorse would also ensure her freedom and that the pills were not enough to harm her. So, David leaves the house.... (or at least claimed he did), Cinnamon shoots and kills Linda while she is sleeping and then she takes the bottle of pills and goes to the dog house in the back yard.  It was later speculated that of course David knew that the amount he told Cinnamon to take would kill her and that he told her to hide so that she would not be found soon and would likely be dead.  This was pretty crucial to his story since he immediately told authorities that Linda and Cinnamon fought often and made her the prime suspect.  David did not want Cinnamon to be found because she could always tell the story and rat him out where as although Patti was in on the planning he figured he could easily control her.

By August of 1988 Cinnamon is working with the police and convinced David to visit her.  He seemingly had not visited her in a while but she made it seem as if she was struggling to keep their secret so to keep her happy he went to visit.  She was wired by authorities and confronted David on a few things that she had learned since talking with investigators, such as his marriage to Patti.  David incriminated himself by stating that if Cinnamon, who was threatening to tell the truth, told the full story that they (he and Patti) would also be sent to prison and that would not help anyone.  The following month both David and Patti were arrested and charged with murder.  Almost immediately David started to attempt to throw Patti and Cinnamon under the bus.  He begins telling authorities that he had heard the girls making plans to kill Linda but he had never taken them seriously and was not in on the plot. By the next month, probably after being told how David had turned on her, Patti told a story that collaborated Cinnamon's. A few months later it was discovered that David had a new plan up his sleeve.  He approached another inmate about having Patti, Newell and the local prosecutor killed.  The inmate informed authorities who were able to set up a sting and made David believe the plan had been executed. He was busted for this but my research never seemed to indicated whether he was charged or received any time for this.  

In May of 1989 Patti plead guilty.  She was 17 at the time of the murder and 21 at the time of her sentencing.  She was sentenced to the same youth facility that housed Cinnamon until the age of 25 in which she was released. Cinnamon was released in February of 1992 at the age of 21.  

In June of 1990 David was convicted of first degree murder for financial gain and conspiracy.  He was sentenced to life without parole.  He died in prison in March of 2014.  He was 61 years old and while most reports say that he died of "natural causes" there was other indications that he had been ill and wheelchair bound for some time, although the cause of this was not stated.

Both Patti and Cinnamon have gone on to marry and have children and apparently have some semblance of a normal life since their release.  Most agree that they were brain washed and manipulated by David and the odds of committing another crime would be low.    

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