David Brown, Anaheim Hills Wife Killer Who Inspired Books and TV Shows, Dies in Prison

An Anaheim Hills murderer from the 1980s whose crime inspired two books and two television miniseries died in state prison last week.

Prison officials said David Brown died of natural causes Thursday at Corcoran State Prison. He was 61.


Cinnamon Brown, who was 14 at the time, was convicted of pulling the trigger on the gun that killed her stepmother and computer whiz David Brown's fifth wife, Linda Brown, while she slept in March 1985.

While his daughter sat silently in a California Youth Authority Facility for nearly four years, Dave Brown collected $835,000 from a life insurance policy on his deceased wife and married Linda Brown's teenage sister, Patti Bailey.

Bailey would later be locked up at the Youth Authority when her role in the murder was disclosed by Cinnamon Brown, who told authorities her father was behind the plot, having woken her up and told her to kill her stepmother. Cinnamon Brown wound up spending a total of seven years at the Youth Authority before being paroled.

Calling Dave Brown a “master manipulator” more chilling than Charles Manson, a judge in 1990 ordered the defendant to spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance of parole for orchestrating his wife's murder.

The case inspired two books, A Killing in the Family and If You Really Loved Me, as well as the NBC miniseries Love You to Death and the Lifetime miniseries Love, Lies and Murder.

Brown had been incarcerated at the state prison in Sacramento before coming to Corcoran in July 2001, according to prison spokesman Anthony Bear, who added that in recent years Brown was ailing and wheelchair-bound.

He was “quiet,” largely kept to himself and was held in protective custody due to his notoriety, Bear told City News Services.

Email: mc****@oc******.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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