California · Female Killers

Teen kills stepmother at father’s behest

March 19, 1985
Garden Grove, California
Cinnamon Brown (14, pictured) fatally shoots her stepmother, 23-year-old Linda Brown

On the evening of March 18, David Brown (32, pictured) left the home, ostensibly due to “bickering” between his fifth wife and his daughter. During the night, Linda’s sister, Patti Bailey (17) heard gunshots and called police who found Linda fatally shot twice in the abdomen. Though she was taken to the hospital for treatment, she died of her injuries. Cinnamon was found — curled up in a doghouse and unconscious from an overdose of medication — by police officers hours after the shooting. She clutched an apparent suicide note which read, “Dear God, please forgive me. I didn’t mean to hurt her.” Cinnamon was quickly arrested and convicted of her stepmother’s murder, and given a sentence of 27 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

While Cinnamon was in prison, David received insurance payouts on several policies taken out on Linda’s life, some purchased months before her murder, and received $835,000. He also married his former-sister-in-law Patti 16 months after her sister’s killing.

In 1988, Cinnamon informed authorities she had been manipulated by her father to kill Linda, telling her Linda was plotting to kill David to take over his company. He also explained Cinnamon would likely not receive a prison term but rather psychiatric treatment. She stated she was awoken by David during the night of the murder and was told to kill her stepmother, just before he left the home under the pretense of a wanting to avoid the fabricated argument between Cinnamon and Linda in an effort to establish an alibi. Cinnamon was then instructed to write her suicide note and take the overdose of medications which David stated was to fake a suicide attempt, though the dose he gave her was enough to have been lethal if she had not become ill and vomitted after ingesting the drugs. With the help of authorities, Cinnamon secretly recorded a conversation with her father regarding Linda’s murder and David and Patti were arrested.

Patti pleaded guilty and testified against her husband in court; she was sentenced to a term to be served in the Youth Authority (a facility for offenders between the ages of 12 and 25). With the testimonies of Patti and Cinnamon, along with the taped conversation discussing Linda’s murder, David was convicted in 1990 and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. He died of natural causes in prison in 2014, at the age of 61.

Cinnamon was paroled in 1992.

Sources:
“Man Who Plotted Wife’s 1985 Murder That Inspired 2 Books, TV Miniseries Dies At 61.” CBS Los Angeles. March 22, 2014. Accessed: March 19, 2020. https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2014/03/22/man-who-plotted-wifes-1985-murder-that-inspired-2-books-tv-miniseries-dies-at-61/
Odell, Robin and Gregg Wilfred. Murderers’ Row: An International Murderers’ Who’s Who. Stroud: The History Press, 2006
Pinsky, Mark I. “Young Killer in Murder Plot Freed: Legal system: Cinnamon Brown, then 14, was imprisoned for shooting her stepmother. She later revealed that 1985 slaying was set up by her father.” The Los Angeles Times. February 29, 1992
Hicks, Jerry. “Brown Guilty in Bizarre Murder if Wife.” The Los Angeles Times. June 16, 1990
Lichtblau, Eric. “Brown Case Prosecutors to Paint Dad as a Svengali.” The Los Angeles Times. January 22, 1989 (image source, David Brown; via newspapers.com)
“Teen takes murder rap; father charged.” The Ukiah Daily Journal. September 23, 1988
“Allege Teen Took Rap in Stepmom’s Murder for Dad and Victim’s Sister.” Associated Press. September 23, 1988
“Sentenced.” Daily Breeze [Torrance, California]. September 15, 1985

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