UPDATE: Cameron Brown Found Guilty Of Throwing 4 Year Old Lauren Sarene Key Off Inspiration Point in Rancho Palos Verdes 15 Years Ago To Avoid Child Support ~ Will Be Sentenced To Mandatory Life In Prison Without Parole June 19, 2015

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Normal UPDATE: Cameron Brown Found Guilty Of Throwing 4 Year Old Lauren Sarene Key Off Inspiration Point in Rancho Palos Verdes 15 Years Ago To Avoid Child Support ~ Will Be Sentenced To Mandatory Life In Prison Without Parole June 19, 2015

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:17 pm

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,534978,00.html?test=latestnews

LOS ANGELES —  A father who had no interest in his 4-year-old daughter did the unimaginable — hurling her off a 120-foot cliff to avoid paying child support, a prosecutor said Monday during the man's murder retrial.  Cameron Brown, 47 didn't want to pay the $1,000.00 per month child support for his 4 yr. old daughter, Lauren Sarene Key in November 2000.   Brown has professed it was an an accident; that the child FELL from guardianship.

Cameron Brown, 47, was charged with one count of murder and the special circumstance allegations of murder while lying in wait and murder for financial gain in the death of Lauren Sarene Key in November 2000. Brown, a former American Airlines baggage handler, has pleaded not guilty and faces life in prison without parole if convicted.

Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum said during his opening statement that Brown killed Lauren because he didn't want to pay about $1,000 a month in child support.

Defense attorney Pat Harris countered that it was an accident when the girl fell from Inspiration Point in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Hum portrayed Brown as an uncaring father who tried to shirk his parental responsibility at nearly every turn. After Brown learned the girl's mother, Sarah Key-Marer, was pregnant with Lauren, he first wanted her to have an abortion and then sought a paternity test that eventually proved he was the father, Hum said.

"Does he show any interest in the child he fathered?" Hum asked. "Absolutely not."

Only when he was forced to pay child support did Brown finally see his daughter — about three years after she was born, Hum said, adding he only saw her 12 times on visits before she died.

Hum argued that Brown and Lauren went out to the cliff where nobody could see them, and he "hurled" her into the Pacific Ocean.

"This man picked up Lauren, whom he fathered but was never a father to, and threw her off a cliff into the water below," Hum said.

Brown, wearing a dark suit and a red tie, stared at Hum during his opening statement and showed no reaction.

Harris gave a different account of his client's relationship with his daughter, insisting the case was nothing more than "character assassination." He dismissed the prosecution's contention that it was a "good-versus-evil" struggle between Brown and Key-Marer.

"It was two parents trying to work out arrangements so they could have a happy child," Harris said.

Harris said Brown carried a picture of Lauren in his wallet, gave her gifts and toasted with his friends when he learned he would get visitation rights. Two weeks before her death, Brown filed court documents seeking more visits with Lauren, Harris said.

"It doesn't make sense," he said.

The prosecution's first witness was Key-Marer, a British immigrant, who described her relationship with Brown as amicable but deteriorated during the child custody dispute after she said in court documents that he was showing little interest in Lauren's life.

Key-Marer testified that her daughter wouldn't share what she did with Brown and Lauren was upset the day she died once she learned Brown would pick her up at school.

"She said, 'No, no I don't want to see him today,"' Key-Marer said. "She was crying and I had trouble getting her out of the car seat."

In a wrenching moment, Key-Marer said after talking to her daughter on the phone she decided to leave work early and pick up Lauren. But she soon learned that Brown had arrived early and she wouldn't be able to get there in time.

She described waiting for Lauren that night, looking out her window for her daughter and Brown to return. Distraught, she and her husband decided to notify authorities because they thought Brown may have kidnapped Lauren.

"We knew something really bad had happened," she said.

Key-Marer broke into tears when she recounted how a female police detective told her that her daughter had died.

"I remember hearing the words 'cliff' and 'Lauren was dead,"' Key-Marer said before court recessed for the day. "I just couldn't believe it."

Brown was tried three years ago, but a mistrial was declared after a jury deadlocked on the severity of the crime. Some jurors favored a first-degree murder conviction, while others voted for second-degree murder or manslaughter.

Both sides intend to call experts to give their opinions on how Lauren died. Jurors will also take a trip to the cliff to see where the alleged crime occurred.


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Post by Wrapitup on Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:26 pm

That is a beautiful spot!!!!!!!!!!!! Been there many times. This just makes me ill. How could he do this?? What they hell is going on lately? Every day you hear of another child being killed by their parent. It never ends!!

BTW, Art..the sum of money he owed is not showing up on the thread. :?:

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Normal Re: UPDATE: Cameron Brown Found Guilty Of Throwing 4 Year Old Lauren Sarene Key Off Inspiration Point in Rancho Palos Verdes 15 Years Ago To Avoid Child Support ~ Will Be Sentenced To Mandatory Life In Prison Without Parole June 19, 2015

Post by NiteSpinR on Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:41 pm

Let's look at this man and see him for what he is.
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Post by Wrapitup on Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:10 pm

He looks ultra evil and not even remorseful at all!! :evil:

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Post by Guest on Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:43 am

Lauren's mother said she had cried that morning because she didn't want to go see her dad. Her dad had only seen her 12 times in her life before he killed her.

I can see why, he scares the HELL out of me just looking at him. Can you imagine how freightened Lauren was of her dad? He is a POS. (piece of chit)
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Post by Guest on Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:59 am

What a scary sad story. I have lived in fear of Katie's Dad doing the same thing to her. I have had nightmares similar to this story.
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Post by CritterFan1 on Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:08 am

lindamarie wrote:What a scary sad story. I have lived in fear of Katie's Dad doing the same thing to her. I have had nightmares similar to this story.
What a thing to have to live with every day.
Money, it is always about money....chris coleman, scott peterson, neil entwhistle.........
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Normal Re: UPDATE: Cameron Brown Found Guilty Of Throwing 4 Year Old Lauren Sarene Key Off Inspiration Point in Rancho Palos Verdes 15 Years Ago To Avoid Child Support ~ Will Be Sentenced To Mandatory Life In Prison Without Parole June 19, 2015

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:13 am

WOW ... yesturday this guy came off as a scary transient and today he looks like a school principle.  

Amazing what a razor and suit can do for a guy.

His attorney may have cleaned him up all shiny, but he obviously couldn't scrub the scary off of him.
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Post by Guest on Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:43 am

NiteSpinR,

Thanks for posting his picture. You Rock!!

I am going to have to get my daughter to show me how to post a photo. I just can't believe this is the same man. Your right, a school principal, he will probably make a good impression on the jury. (God I hate that!)
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Post by Marica on Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:24 am

Sorry Friends.. but he still looks like a monster to me. Those eyes are EVIL and filled with hatred. I cannot imagine any jury being taken in by this man.
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Post by Nama on Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:57 pm

A father is facing a third trial on charges he murdered his 4-year-old daughter by throwing her off a cliff in Los Angeles County.
A Superior Court judge on Thursday rejected a defense motion to dismiss a murder charge against 48-year-old Cameron Brown.
Brown's attorney, Pat Harris, says he will appeal the decision.
Two juries have deadlocked over whether Brown, a former airport baggage handler, tossed his daughter Lauren Sarene Key into the Pacific Ocean in Rancho Palos Verdes in November 2000.
Prosecutors say Brown killed her to avoid paying about $1,000 in monthly child support. Harris argues the girl slipped and fell 120 feet from Inspiration Point.
Brown was tried in 2006 and 2009. Brown, who has been behind bars since his Nov. 16, 2003 arrest, is due back in court March 2.

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Normal Geragos turns Cameron Brown case over to new lawyer

Post by Nama on Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:02 pm

The famed law firm that represented Cameron Brown in two trials for the Rancho Palos Verdes cliff death of his 4-year-old daughter will not be there for the third.

In Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, Mark Geragos and his firm turned over the nearly 10-year-old case to Glendale attorney Herbert Barish, according to Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum.

Barish is on a list of private attorneys available for appointment by the court in situations where the Public Defender's or Alternate Public Defender's offices cannot take a case.

Hum said he expected it would be about a year before the case goes to trial again.

Through an employee, Barish said he would not comment because he does not discuss pending cases with the news media.

Barish, a UCLA School of Law graduate, was admitted to the bar in 1966, according to State Bar records.

By way of comparison to Brown's previous lawyers, it appears Barish has practiced mostly out of the spotlight, with a few exceptions.

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Post by Wrapitup on Sun Aug 01, 2010 2:39 am

In Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, Mark Geragos and his firm turned over the nearly 10-year-old case to Glendale attorney Herbert Barish, according to Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum.
This case is 10 years old???? WTF?? And his attorney was THE Mark Geragos? Color me very confused!!!

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Normal Re: UPDATE: Cameron Brown Found Guilty Of Throwing 4 Year Old Lauren Sarene Key Off Inspiration Point in Rancho Palos Verdes 15 Years Ago To Avoid Child Support ~ Will Be Sentenced To Mandatory Life In Prison Without Parole June 19, 2015

Post by Nama on Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:32 pm




INTRODUCTION:

Cameron Brown is innocent until proven guilty but the allegations in this case are “unspeakable.” Ten jurors believed little Lauren Sarene Key’s 125-foot plunge to her death was caused by her father, Cameron Brown. But two juror’s didn’t. Brown will be tried again in October.

UNSPEAKABLE:

In the first trial, prosecutor’s described Cameron Brown (pictured above with his daughter Lauren) as a deadbeat dad who owed $40,000 in child support payments, but only had $96 dollars in the bank. They added, Brown never wanted the child in the first place. He met Lauren’s mom Sarah Key-Marer in a bar in 1995 and despite using a condom, Sarah became pregnant. Brown was so outraged, he tried to get the English born Sarah deported. When that failed, he tried to talk her into an abortion, she refused and gave birth to Lauren. She and Brown would eventually marry other people.

Brown refused to visit his little girl until she was 3. Prosecutor’s claim, he only visited in hopes of getting the child support payments reduced.

On one visit in 2000, Brown took little Lauren to “Inspiration Point,” which overlooked a nude beach, at Rancho Palos Verdes. This was strange because this hiking trail is known not to be safe for children because of the narrow slope without fencing. A witness said, “It was not common to see children walking in this area.”

Two hikers said Lauren was walking behind her father, appearing tired as she tried frantically to keep up with him. They also noted that it was dead silence between the two. This fact is significant because Brown maintains that Lauren led him along the narrow, sometimes steep paths.

At the top of the trail, Brown claims, he sat on a rock while Lauren tossed pebbles over the edge. He told cops he took his eyes off Lauren for a moment and when he glanced back, he saw her flailing arms and legs as she vanished over the edge, 125 feet down. Jurors had tears in their eyes as they viewed photos of the child’s broken and bloodied body laying on the rocky beach below-her pretty face smashed by the steep fall.

Witnesses testified about Brown’s bizarre coolness in the aftermath. He joked to a nudist from the nearby nudist camp, “You better get dressed since rescue workers will be flooding the scene. “Somebody’s gonna be coming, ha ha, so sorry.” On the 911 call he made on his cell, Brown’s voice was void of emotion and he was very nonchalant as he told the operator that his daughter fell off a cliff and a police officer testified that Brown talked about the close election between George Bush and Al Gore as the tiny girl’s battered body was laid out on a nearby picnic table.

Attorney Mark Geragos (who also represented Scott Peterson) represented Brown at the first trial (mistrial). More than likely, he will also represent him at the retrial next month.

Source: “Star Magazine,” and “The Daily Breeze.”

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Post by raine1953 on Thu Nov 18, 2010 2:03 pm

This guy is a monster! I remember when this first happened and this creep was just unemotional. The place that he threw his little girl off the cliff is a dangerous place & this article is so correct, it's not a place for children.
I'm so glad that the DA refiled charges each time the juries deadlocked though I can't understand why they deadlocked.
This monster has been in jail since this happened and I so hope that this time the jury does not deadlock and he needs to
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Post by BeautifulNicole on Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:39 am

lindamarie wrote:What a scary sad story. I have lived in fear of Katie's Dad doing the same thing to her. I have had nightmares similar to this story.

My prayers to you, Momma. I retracted my CS request & moved to another state to AVOID this kind of thing. Luckily, HE disappeared.
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Normal How LA County Imprisoned Cameron Brown For A Decade Without A Conviction

Post by NiteSpinR on Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:46 am

11/14/2013

Nov. 16 is Cameron Brown's 10th anniversary in jail, even though he’s never been convicted of a crime.

For the better part of the last decade, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office has tried to prove Brown, now 52, threw his 4-year-old daughter off a 125-foot cliff to get out of paying child support. But because there were no witnesses to the girl's fatal plunge, the case has relied largely on speculation and circumstantial evidence.

Jurors have twice deadlocked over what happened the day Brown's daughter died. Did Brown bring the girl to that rocky headland in order to kill her? Or was he merely a careless parent who should have been more watchful? Two costly trials have failed to prove a motive. A strange communication breakdown in the last trial caused a bungling of justice for Brown. Since then, an overwhelmed court system has caused delay after delay in the case’s progress. Meanwhile, Brown's family fights for his release.

Brown's saga began almost 20 years ago, in late 1995, when he met a young British stewardess at a hotel bar in Newport Beach, Calif., a well-to-do city in Orange County.

The woman, Sarah Key-Marer, then 26, was living nearby in Costa Mesa on an expired government visa.

"She was tall and attractive and charming," Brown's father, Bob Brown, said recently by phone. "Within a few weeks of meeting Cam, she told him she was pregnant."

Key-Marer would later testify that a condom broke while she and Brown were having sex on his Redondo Beach houseboat. Brown, then a 34-year-old baggage handler for American Airlines and an avid outdoorsman, wasn't ready for a baby.

"He was very independent," his father said. “He loved to ride dirt bikes and climb mountains. He once ran a marathon at 5,000 feet.”

Brown took the news of the pregnancy well at first, Key-Marer testified. But things went downhill after a roommate of the mother told Brown that Key-Marer wanted to get pregnant because she believed having a baby would help her get U.S. citizenship.

The pair soon began fighting and broke up permanently just a few months into Key-Marer’s pregnancy.

When baby Lauren was born, Key-Marer filed for child support. Brown responded by ordering a DNA test. It came back positive, and records show that in the summer of 1999, when Lauren was 3 years old, Brown received a court order telling him to pay $1,000 a month in child support.

Soon after, Brown sought legal custody of Lauren, but his request was denied. Instead, he was told he could visit his daughter once a week.

Throughout late 1999 and 2000, Brown drove from his home on the Palos Verdes Peninsula to Orange County every Wednesday to visit Lauren. "He loved her so much,” his father said. “Always had her in his lap.”

Tragedy struck on the afternoon of Nov. 8, 2000, the day after the controversial Bush v. Gore election.

Brown picked Lauren up from school in Costa Mesa, as usual, and then took her to a beach playground in the city of Rancho Palos Verdes, near where he lived.

After playing for 20 minutes at the playground, Brown later told authorities, the two went for a hike to the top of Inspiration Point, a rocky promontory over the Pacific Ocean.

Brown told police that Lauren slipped and tumbled over the edge while she was throwing rocks. He had been resting on a nearby rock and hadn’t had time to catch her.

Lauren was pronounced dead 25 minutes later, her autopsy states.

Brown was questioned extensively by police that afternoon and into the night. Some officers said his behavior was suspicious. Deputy Jessica Brothers, one of the first to arrive at the scene of the fall, said she thought it was strange that Brown asked her if she knew whether the election had been decided yet.

Ultimately Brown was let go without being charged with a crime.

“Detectives were initially investigating [the death] as an accident,” said Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum, who would later prosecute Brown in two subsequent trials. “Gradually they came to see that his story didn’t seem to make sense.”

It took the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office about five months to conclude that the manner of Lauren's death was likely a homicide. Her injuries were "consistent with an assisted drop, and not consistent with accidental fall," the 32-page autopsy report notes. "It was observed that the terrain is rugged and it is not likely that a 4-year-old female would voluntarily hike there without experiencing fatigue."

This would mark the start of a nearly three-year investigation that culminated in Brown's arrest. The probe included hundreds of interviews with people who had known both Brown and Lauren, in addition to consultations with medical and biomechanics experts who attested to the implausibility of Lauren's fall being an accident.

"We interviewed about 150 people," Detective Jeff Leslie, one of the lead investigators on the case, said. Part of why it took so long was because of a lack of eyewitnesses. “There’s still a lack of eyewitnesses to this day,” he said.

In late 2003, three years after Lauren's death, Brown was arrested on the side of the road as he and his wife, Patty, were on their way to go hiking.

"A group of about a dozen men surrounded us with their guns drawn," Patty recalled recently over the phone. “It was completely over-the-top.”

The following summer, a grand jury indicted Brown on charges of first-degree murder with the special circumstances of lying in wait and killing for financial gain.

Brown was locked up at the Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles for two and a half years before he had a chance to have his case heard in 2006 in a Torrance County courthouse, not far from where Lauren had plummeted to her death six years before.

Much of Hum's case against Brown focused on painting him as spiteful and self-centered.

Hum pointed out that Brown had had no contact with his daughter until the courts became involved. Even then, he said, Brown did everything he could to avoid having to deal with the girl. Court documents state that he tried to have Key-Marer fired from her job at a travel agency so she’d lose her health insurance and that he even tried to have her deported at one point.

Patty says Hum was very persuasive.

"The histrionics were amazing,” she remarked recently from her home in Ventura, Calif. “Someone should put that guy on Broadway.”

Celebrity attorney Mark Geragos, who defended Brown at the trial, countered that Brown may have been an inexperienced father but that he grew to love his daughter and never would have harmed her. Geragos put medical and biomechanics experts on the stand who undermined the medical examiner's conclusion that Lauren's injuries showed she had been thrown.

The emotional two-month trial ended in stalemate. Two jurors voted to convict Brown of first-degree murder. Meanwhile, the other 10 jurors -- some of whom wept as they left the courtroom -- were split between involuntary manslaughter and second-degree murder.

Involuntary manslaughter in this case would mean Lauren had slipped and fallen, but that Brown should not have taken her to such a dangerous area. Second-degree murder, on the other hand, would mean Brown knew Lauren might fall but didn't care.

Following the trial, Brown was brought back to the Men's Central Jail and incarcerated for another three years while he awaited retrial.

Part of the reason for the delay was that the courts were overloaded. “The court system probably has a lot more cases than it was designed to handle most efficiently,” Hum acknowledged, but added that Brown, like any defendant in California, has the right to a retrial within 60 days unless he waives that right. “Every continuance that’s been granted [in this case] has been at the defense’s request,” Hum said. “The prosecution does not have that option."

Key-Marer, who otherwise declined to discuss the case, said much the same thing.

“I have found the court system very efficient,” she wrote in a Facebook message. “The delays have been because of the defense and defendant!”

The wait wasn’t easy on Brown. While in jail, his father says, he was harassed, beaten and had feces smeared on the walls of his cell. Letters Brown wrote to his wife complain of mistreatment at the hands of vindictive prison guards.

By the time Brown's next trial rolled around, it was 2009. Nine years had passed since his daughter’s death.

His family hoped that Brown’s new lawyer, an accomplished attorney named Pat Harris, who had experience representing high-profile clients including Michael Jackson, would be able to show the prosecution simply didn’t have the evidence to convict Brown of murder.

During trial, Harris was forceful. He questioned why someone would kill his daughter after requesting additional visits with her shortly before her death, as Brown had done, and he chided the prosecution for engaging in “character assassination.” It was a lack of concrete evidence that forced Hum to rely on personal attacks intended solely to smear the defendant, Harris said.

Despite a lack of eyewitnesses, Hum put on a masterful presentation designed to persuade jurors that Brown had thrown Lauren off the cliff.

He brought to the stand Key-Marer herself, who was now 40. Key-Marer gave wrenching testimony of her final morning with Lauren. She said her daughter hated having to go on unsupervised visits with her father every week and often came home looking “blank” and “zombie-like.”

Lauren disliked the outdoors and in particular hated hiking, Key-Marer said on the stand.

Hum’s trump card was Wilson Hayes, an expert witness who was a professor of mechanical engineering. Hayes had studied the case extensively, examining Lauren's injuries and visiting Inspiration Point on multiple occasions. He told the jury it was unlikely Lauren had slipped and fallen. "She had almost no evidence of injuries of sliding, abrasions, lacerations” to show she’d tumbled down the cliff face, Hayes said. Instead, he testified, the girl’s injuries convinced him she had been “launched forcibly” off the ledge.

The second trial, like the first, was long, lasting more than two months.

Finally, on a Monday in early October 2009, after three weeks of deliberations, the jury informed Judge Michael Pastor that it was hopelessly deadlocked between involuntary manslaughter and murder.

Pastor was ready to declare a mistrial, but Harris urged him to find out the exact details of the jury’s decision. Had the six jurors who voted for murder voted for first-degree murder or second-degree murder? It was crucial to find out: First-degree murder in California carries a sentence of life in prison without parole, while someone convicted of second-degree murder could be let out in just 15 years -- or even less if they behaved well in jail.

If no jurors had voted for the former, they “had the option of acquitting the accused of first-degree murder,” law professor James Tomkovicz pointed out. In that case, double jeopardy would prevent Brown from being tried again for first-degree murder.

Court transcripts show that when the judge asked the jury foreman if there was a unanimous decision on any of the charges, the foreman said no. Pastor then declared a mistrial.

In a dramatic twist, the foreman indicated to the judge a moment later that no jurors had voted for first-degree murder. He appeared to have misspoken earlier. But by now it was too late. Because a mistrial had been declared, the judge said, there was nothing that could be done.

"At that point, I was going ballistic," Harris said recently by phone. "Because this was exactly what I’d warned would happen."

The trial was over. Brown was brought back to jail. There had been no formal acquittal of the first-degree murder charge, so he was again denied bail.

By then, Brown had already served two more years than the maximum sentence for involuntary manslaughter. His imprisonment has cost taxpayers nearly $500,000 throughout the past decade, according to calculations by the nonprofit Vera Institute of Justice.

It’s thought that Pastor wasn't perfectly straightforward when questioning the jury on its decision. Both Brown’s family and Harris believe the judge knew the jury hadn't voted for first-degree murder. They said they think Pastor played dumb in order to give Hum another shot at getting a first-degree conviction in the next trial.

"The foreman made it clear that they had come to a decision on first-degree," Harris said recently over the phone. "There was absolutely no question in my mind the judge did it deliberately. He was very pro-prosecution."

“It was clear to everyone that no jurors had voted for first-degree murder,” concurred Patty Brown, who was present that day. “But it's in the county's interests to do everything possible to avoid an acquittal, and that's how Judge Pastor steered the events.”

A clerk for Pastor said he can’t comment on pending cases.

Brown’s third trial was supposed to get underway in 2011. But when Conrad Murray, the doctor convicted of manslaughter in Michael Jackson’s death, invoked his right to a speedy trial, it threw a “monkey wrench into Judge Pastor’s schedule, causing several cases, including Brown’s, to be rescheduled,” said Betsy Ross, the crime blogger who has covered the Brown trial extensively on her Trials & Tribulations blog.

Brown’s third trial is expected to start early next year. Hum says he’s “absolutely confident” he can get a first-degree murder conviction. “The evidence is crystal clear,” he said.

"Normally I wouldn't comment on a pending case," said Aron Laub, the public attorney who will defend Brown. "But because Hum has already done so, let me just say that Cameron Brown is not guilty of murder. There has never been, and there never will be, enough evidence to convict him of murder, because he’s innocent."

Brown’s family is hopeful that there will be a resolution this time.

"He's had the best years of his life taken from him," his father says. "We just want our son to be able to be with his family again."

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Normal Jury selection begins for third trial of father accused of throwing daughter from Rancho Palos Verdes cliff to avoid paying child support

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:34 am

3/18/15

About 60 prospective jurors were asked Wednesday to fill out questionnaires as a third trial got under way in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom for a former airport baggage handler charged with throwing his 4-year-old daughter from a 120-foot cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes nearly 15 years ago.

Cameron John Brown, 53, who has been in jail for more than 11 years, is accused of murdering his daughter, Lauren Sarene Key, at the tip of Inspiration Point on Nov. 8, 2000.

Two juries have previously deadlocked in two trials. Prosecutors believe Brown threw his daughter from the cliff to avoid child support payments. The defense says she fell while on a walk along the cliff’s edge.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George Lomeli gave jurors a brief synopsis of the case before asking them to fill out a questionnaire with 20 questions, including whether:

• They have heard or seen anything about the case in the news or online.

• They are familiar with Inspiration Point and other Rancho Palos Verdes landmarks.

• They or anyone close to them goes hiking with young children.

• They or anyone close to them has ever had a dispute over child support.

The potential panelists also were also asked whether they had a fear of heights or any physical disabilities that would make them unable to view the scene in light of a planned jury field trip to Inspiration Point.

Another group of prospective jurors is due in court Thursday to fill out questionnaires.

Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum and defense attorney Aron Laub are expected to begin questioning potential panelists on Monday after reviewing the questionnaires.

Brown faces a potential life prison sentence without the possibility of parole if he is convicted of first-degree murder and jurors find true the special circumstance allegations of murder for financial gain and murder while lying in wait.

The first jury to hear the case deadlocked in August 2006 at the Torrance courthouse, with eight panelists favoring a second-degree murder conviction and two each lobbying for first-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

The case was subsequently moved to the downtown Los Angeles criminal courthouse, where jurors deadlocked in Brown’s second trial in October 2009. The jury foreman said six jurors voted in favor of convicting Brown of second-degree murder, while the other six favored involuntary manslaughter.

During Brown’s second trial, the prosecutor argued that the defendant threw a daughter he never wanted off the cliff to avoid paying $1,000 a month in child support —which he had recently been ordered to begin paying — and to retaliate against the girl’s mother, who became pregnant soon after they began dating and refused to give up the child.

“There was no relationship (between Brown and his daughter), and that’s how the defendant could do this,” the prosecutor told jurors in the second trial.

The defense has long asserted that the girl slipped and fell to her death.

Attorney Pat Harris, who represented Brown in his second trial, told jurors that his client was a “warm, loving father.”

Brown has been jailed without bail since his arrest on Nov. 16, 2003.

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Normal Prosecutor Contests Defense’s Claim That 4-Year-Old’s Fall Was Accidental During Opening Statements

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:43 am

3/25/15

A prosecutor told jurors Wednesday that a man took his 4-year-old daughter on a “dangerous hike’’ and then threw her off a 120-foot cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes nearly 15 years ago, while a defense attorney countered that the girl fell to her death in a tragic accident.

The jury of six men and six women is the third to hear the case against Cameron John Brown, 53, who is charged with murder in the death of his daughter, Lauren Sarene Key, off the isolated tip of Inspiration Point on Nov. 8, 2000.

The first jury to hear the case deadlocked in August 2006 at the Torrance courthouse, with eight panelists favoring a second-degree murder conviction and two each lobbying for first-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

The case subsequently was moved to the downtown Los Angeles criminal courthouse, where jurors deadlocked in Brown’s second trial in October 2009. Six jurors voted in favor of convicting Brown of second-degree murder, while the other six favored involuntary manslaughter.

In his opening statement in the latest trial, Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum said the evidence will refute Brown’s claim that what happened to his daughter was accidental.

The prosecutor told jurors that it will be “clear that Lauren did not slip and fall,’’ but was picked up and thrown off the cliff to her death.

Brown had unsuccessfully tried to convince the girl’s mother to have an abortion and subsequently showed no interest in his daughter for “most of her life’’ until after her mother sought child support, the prosecutor said.

“In November of 1999, when Lauren is over 3 years old, the defendant finally gets around to meeting her,’’ Hum said, telling jurors that Brown was advised that he needed to request visitation if he wanted a reduction in the monthly child support payments of about $1,000 he had been ordered to pay.

The prosecutor questioned Brown’s statement to investigators that he “could barely keep up with this 4-year-old little girl’’ who led them to Inspiration Point, which is unfenced and has steep cliffs that plummet 120 feet.

He said Brown went on a circuitous route to borrow a cellphone to call 9-1-1 and spent 5 1/2 minutes with a 9-1-1 operator while his daughter floated face-down in the water.

“Murdering Lauren was the ultimate payback to this woman he despised,’’ Hum said of Brown’s contentious child support dispute with the girl’s mother.

The prosecutor said Brown had “spent a total of about two weeks’’ with his daughter, saying, “there was no relationship, none at all.’’

Brown’s attorney, Aron Laub, told jurors that “two tragedies are going to unfold before you in this courtroom’’ — that the girl “tragically fell to her death’’ and that Brown is being prosecuted for her death.

“He said it was an accident. ... The police didn’t believe him,’’ Laub told the jury. “From the beginning of the investigation, the investigation was biased.’’

The defense attorney noted that Brown voluntarily went to the sheriff’s station to speak with investigators, who did not record his statement despite “trying to prove this case as a murder.’’

Laub told jurors that his client “took an interest’’ in the girl and sought to have visits with her after a paternity test proved he was her father.

“He’s a man who didn’t hurt animals. He didn’t hurt people ever,’’ Brown’s attorney said of the avid outdoorsman.

The girl’s mother, Sarah Key-Marer, was called as the prosecution’s first witness. She testified that she recalled while they were dating that Brown had pointed to a cliff and told her that two children had died there a week or two earlier.

“It upset me. ... I was very distraught,’’ she said. “It stuck in my mind.’’

Brown could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of first-degree murder, and if jurors find true the special circumstance allegations of murder for financial gain and murder while lying in wait.

Brown was arrested three years after his daughter’s death and has been jailed without bail since then.


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Normal Attorneys Debate Charges Cameron Brown Threw His Daughter Off A Cliff

Post by NiteSpinR on Fri Mar 27, 2015 1:02 am

03/26/2015

A prosecutor told jurors Wednesday that a man took his 4-year-old daughter on a “dangerous hike’’ and then threw her off a 120-foot cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes nearly 15 years ago, while a defense attorney countered that the girl fell to her death in a tragic accident.

The jury of six men and six women is the third to hear the case against Cameron John Brown, 53, who is charged with murder in the death of his daughter, Lauren Sarene Key, off the isolated tip of Inspiration Point on Nov. 8, 2000.

The first jury to hear the case deadlocked in August 2006 at the Torrance courthouse, with eight panelists favoring a second-degree murder conviction and two each lobbying for first-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

The case subsequently was moved to the downtown Los Angeles criminal courthouse, where jurors deadlocked in Brown’s second trial in October 2009. Six jurors voted in favor of convicting Brown of second-degree murder, while the other six favored involuntary manslaughter.

In his opening statement in the latest trial, Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum said the evidence will refute Brown’s claim that what happened to his daughter was accidental.

The prosecutor told jurors that it will be “clear that Lauren did not slip and fall,’’ but was picked up and thrown off the cliff to her death.

Brown had unsuccessfully tried to convince the girl’s mother to have an abortion and subsequently showed no interest in his daughter for “most of her life’’ until after her mother sought child support, the prosecutor said.

“In November of 1999, when Lauren is over 3 years old, the defendant finally gets around to meeting her,’’ Hum said, telling jurors that Brown was advised that he needed to request visitation if he wanted a reduction in the monthly child support payments of about $1,000 he had been ordered to pay.

The prosecutor questioned Brown’s statement to investigators that he “could barely keep up with this 4-year-old little girl’’ who led them to Inspiration Point, which is unfenced and has steep cliffs that plummet 120 feet.

He said Brown went on a circuitous route to borrow a cellphone to call 9-1-1 and spent 5 1/2 minutes with a 9-1-1 operator while his daughter floated face-down in the water.

“Murdering Lauren was the ultimate payback to this woman he despised,’’ Hum said of Brown’s contentious child support dispute with the girl’s mother.

The prosecutor said Brown had “spent a total of about two weeks’’ with his daughter, saying, “there was no relationship, none at all.’’

Brown’s attorney, Aron Laub, told jurors that “two tragedies are going to unfold before you in this courtroom’’ — that the girl “tragically fell to her death’’ and that Brown is being prosecuted for her death.

“He said it was an accident. ... The police didn’t believe him,’’ Laub told the jury. “From the beginning of the investigation, the investigation was biased.’’

The defense attorney noted that Brown voluntarily went to the sheriff’s station to speak with investigators, who did not record his statement despite “trying to prove this case as a murder.’’

Laub told jurors that his client “took an interest’’ in the girl and sought to have visits with her after a paternity test proved he was her father.

“He’s a man who didn’t hurt animals. He didn’t hurt people ever,’’ Brown’s attorney said of the avid outdoorsman.

The girl’s mother, Sarah Key-Marer, was called as the prosecution’s first witness. She testified that she recalled while they were dating that Brown had pointed to a cliff and told her that two children had died there a week or two earlier.

“It upset me. ... I was very distraught,’’ she said. “It stuck in my mind.’’

Brown could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of first-degree murder, and if jurors find true the special circumstance allegations of murder for financial gain and murder while lying in wait.

Brown was arrested three years after his daughter’s death and has been jailed without bail since then.


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Normal Jurors Visit Cliff Where 4 Year Old Lauren Sarene Key, Died

Post by NiteSpinR on Sun May 10, 2015 12:24 am

May 7, 2015

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CALIF. — Los Angeles jurors in the case of a man accused of tossing his 4-year-old daughter to her death off a sea cliff visited the scene of the alleged crime.

Jurors in the trial of Cameron Brown spent part of Thursday at Inspiration Point in Rancho Palos Verdes where his daughter, Lauren Sarene Key, plunged to her death nearly 15 years ago.

The 53-year-old Brown is on trial for murder for the third time after two previous juries deadlocked.

Prosecutors contend Brown killed the girl to get revenge on her mother. Brown had wanted her to get an abortion when she got pregnant and the two were locked in a custody dispute.

Brown's lawyer says girl's death was an accident after she ran toward the cliff's edge, tripped and fell.



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Normal Re: UPDATE: Cameron Brown Found Guilty Of Throwing 4 Year Old Lauren Sarene Key Off Inspiration Point in Rancho Palos Verdes 15 Years Ago To Avoid Child Support ~ Will Be Sentenced To Mandatory Life In Prison Without Parole June 19, 2015

Post by Wrapitup on Sun May 10, 2015 2:28 pm

Hard to imagine two previous jury's deadlocked!!! I hope this one gets it right!

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Normal Third Jury Begin Deliberations 5/12/15

Post by NiteSpinR on Tue May 12, 2015 9:39 am

5/11/15

Nearly 15 years after she plunged to her death from a Rancho Palos Verdes cliff, the smiling face of 4-year-old Lauren Sarene Key was beamed Monday from a projector onto the wall of a downtown Los Angeles courtroom.

lRelated Jurors in murder trial visit Rancho Palos Verdes spot where 4-year-old died
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The eyes of jurors turned upward to see the photograph of the young girl with golden curls. Her mother, Sarah Key-Marer, stared at the image and sobbed as she was comforted by supporters.

Lauren's father, Cameron Brown, sat expressionless as Deputy Dist. Atty. Craig Hum asked the jury to convict him in the young girl's death.

cComments
Oops, though I started editing my first comment, above, within 5 minutes, I apparently needed to have finished the editing within 5 minutes in order to post the revision. Here's my revised question/comment: In trials, is there no mechanism for there to be a conviction for manslaughter...
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AT 12:39 AM MAY 12, 2015
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"The truth is that the defendant threw his 4-year-old girl off that cliff like a piece of luggage," Hum said, pointing first at Brown and then to Lauren's image. "That's the truth."

The jury is set to begin deliberations Tuesday after hearing rival narratives of what happened atop Inspiration Point on Nov. 8, 2000: a tragic accident or a calculated killing.

Hum described Brown as a coldhearted, vindictive man who never wanted the child and killed her to avoid paying child support and to hurt her mother.


But defense attorney Aron Laub argued that Brown loved and cared for his daughter and that the girl was playing near the cliff's edge when she slipped and fell to her death.

This is the third time that a jury has listened to the opposing accounts of Lauren's death. Two previous juries deadlocked on whether Brown intentionally killed his daughter. If no verdict is reached this time, a judge could refuse to let prosecutors retry the case and order Brown, who has been jailed since 2003, released.

In his closing arguments, Laub told jurors that evidence in the case did not prove Brown set out to kill his child, but instead painted him as a lousy father and unlikable person.

"I don't think it's necessary to like him as an individual to give him justice as a human being," Laub said.

Laub said the prosecution of Brown was propelled by an emotional reaction to the death of a young child.

"It's an injustice to prosecute Cameron Brown for murder," he told jurors.

At the end of his remarks, Laub guided jurors to a guilty verdict on a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.

"This could have been prevented by holding her hand," he told them.

Hum argued that, at the very least, a guilty verdict on second-degree murder was warranted because Brown failed in his legal duty to protect his daughter from harm.

But he argued that the evidence points to first-degree murder, recalling testimony by an expert witness who said the girl's injuries were inconsistent with a slip or trip and instead suggested that she was thrown. Brown mustered only a half-hearted attempt at rescuing the girl after the fall and was indifferent and uninterested in the hours and days that followed, Hum said.

"It was a one-way trip," he said.

Brown's first trial ended in 2006, with two jurors voting to convict him of first-degree murder, eight voting for second-degree murder and two favoring manslaughter. In 2009, a jury split evenly between second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.


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Normal Cameron Brown Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed May 13, 2015 5:57 pm

May 13, 2015

A father was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder for tossing his 4-year-old daughter off a sea cliff nearly 15 years ago to get revenge against the girl's mother and avoid custody payments.

Cameron Brown showed no emotion as the verdict in the long-running case was read in Los Angeles Superior Court, while the mother of Lauren Sarene Key breathed heavily and began crying in the gallery.

Two previous juries have deadlocked over whether Brown was guilty of murder or manslaughter.

Brown, 53, faces a mandatory term of life in prison without parole when sentenced June 19 for the murder and special circumstances that he lay in wait and killed the girl for financial gain.

"Judge, I'm innocent, I have no comment," Brown said when asked about the sentencing date.

Brown, an airline baggage handler at the time, hurled the girl off the 120-foot cliff in November 2000 because he never wanted the child and was locked in a bitter dispute with her mother over child support and custody, prosecutors said.

Brown told police the girl tripped and fell as she ran toward the cliff's edge at Inspiration Point in Rancho Palos Verdes. His lawyer had suggested jurors convict him of manslaughter.

The verdict that was nearly 12 years in coming took the jury little more than a day to reach.

Foreman Greg Apodaca said jurors were unanimous from their first discussions and it was a "relatively simple decision to make."

"The expert witnesses made it pretty clear and when we did the site visit it was clear to us, as well, that it didn't seem likely that a 4-year-old girl would be up there of her own volition," Apodaca said.

Prosecution experts said the girl's injuries were not consistent with an accidental fall because she couldn't have run fast enough to clear part of the cliff before either striking an outcropping or hitting the beach below. A defense witness said she could have died from an accidental fall.

Over about six weeks of testimony, jurors heard from most of the same witnesses as previous juries.

But this time Detective Jeffrey Leslie of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department found someone who said Brown said it would be "nice to get rid of Lauren" to get out of paying $1,000-a-month child support, Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum said after the verdict.

"That witness made a significant difference," Hum said, though the primary motive was hatred toward the girl's mom, Sarah Key-Marer. "He hated Sarah so much that he was willing to go to these lengths to get back at her."

Hum told jurors that Brown's statements were riddled with lies and that Brown had wanted Key-Marer, a British citizen, to get an abortion and he even tried to get her deported.

Jurors in 2006 and 2009 had decided the death was a crime, but they couldn't agree on the charge. Eight voted for second-degree murder at his first trial, and four remaining votes were split between first-degree and involuntary manslaughter. The second panel split, with half voting for second-degree murder and half for manslaughter.

Key-Marer said she was in shock from the verdict.

"All I ever wanted was that he would take responsibility for what happened that day," she said. "It's all been really hard. The pain. We just learned to live with the pain."


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Normal Re: UPDATE: Cameron Brown Found Guilty Of Throwing 4 Year Old Lauren Sarene Key Off Inspiration Point in Rancho Palos Verdes 15 Years Ago To Avoid Child Support ~ Will Be Sentenced To Mandatory Life In Prison Without Parole June 19, 2015

Post by Wrapitup on Sun May 17, 2015 6:22 pm

Thank you for the update!

SO happy a jury finally got it right!

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