LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A third jury found a man guilty of first-degree murder Wednesday for throwing his 4-year-old daughter off a 120-foot cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes in an effort to avoid paying child support.
A jury of six women and six men deliberated for about one-and-a-half days before finding Cameron John Brown, a 53-year-old former airport baggage handler, guilty and finding the special circumstances of murder for financial gain and lying in wait to be true.READ MORE: Flurry Of Small Earthquakes Hit Grapevine Region
Brown will be sentenced to a mandatory term of life in state prison without the possibility of parole, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. He is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on June 19.
Two previous trials ended in hung juries.
CBS2’s Jeff Nguyen said Brown sat stone-faced when the verdict was read.
In his closing argument in the latest trial, Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum told jury that Brown threw Lauren Sarene Key off the isolated tip of Inspiration Point on Nov. 8, 2000, out of hatred for her mother and because he was tired of paying child support.
Prosecutors said Brown tried to convince Lauren’s mother, Sarah Key-Marer, to get an abortion when he first found she was pregnant, then tried to get her deported. Brown did not have anything to do with the child until he realized requesting joint custody was the best way to avoid paying $1,000 a month in child support, according to the defense.READ MORE: Water Main Break Floods Cahuenga Blvd. In Hollywood Hills
Today, Sarah Key-Marer told reporters with the guilty verdict she heard the words she’d been long hoping for.
“It’s all been really hard. The pain. We’ve all have learned to live with the pain,” she said. “All I ever wanted was that he would take responsibility for what happened that day.”
Defense attorney Aron Laub countered during closing arguments that the girl accidentally fell to her death, but acknowledged that his client might be guilty of manslaughter.
Brown was arrested in November 2003 in connection with his daughter’s death and has been jailed without bail since then.
The first jury to hear the case deadlocked in August 2006, with eight panelists favoring a second-degree murder conviction, two in favor of first-degree murder and the last two voting for involuntary manslaughter. In 2009, six jurors voted in favor of convicting Brown of second-degree murder, while the other six favored involuntary manslaughter.MORE NEWS: Man Shot In Face While Driving On 5 Freeway In Sylmar; Gunman At Large
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