With a color photograph of Lael Brown as a backdrop, Deputy Cache County Attorney Jeff Burbank told a 1st District Court jury Friday that former Logan resident Debra Brown shot the victim for financial gain.
She "crept into the house (of) this loving father and grandfather in his 75th year of life and shot him to death," he said.Brown, 38, who is no relation to the victim, is charged with capital homicide in the death of the elder Brown in the bedroom of his Logan residence in November 1993.
In his opening statement, Burbank said the state will prove Debra Brown is "a clever thief, a clever forger and a clever murderer who pretended to police that she was shocked and sorrowful when she called 911 to report his death."
He said the state will prove Brown killed her former employer so he would not turn her in for forging checks in his name.
Defense attorney John Caine said the state has put together a theory they cannot prove.
"You will not hear one witness say that on Nov. 6 or 7 in 1993, Deb Brown put her hands on a gun and fired three shots in the head of her trusted friend," he said.
Several police officers also testified they were called to the home and found Debra Brown on the front steps crying hysterically.
But Logan police Sgt. Eric Collins said he was bothered by the fact that he saw no tears in her eyes.
Under cross examination, the officer admitted he did not include that comment in his initial report.
Collins testified that Brown told him she was concerned about the elder Brown because he had been sick on Nov. 5. When she took a pot of chicken soup to his home on Nov. 6, he did not answer the door, so she left it outside.
Collins said Debra Brown told him that when she returned the next morning the soup was still there. She went out to her truck and got a key he had given her and went in and found him dead in his bed, Collins said Brown told him.
Todd Grey, Utah chief medical examiner, testified he performed an autopsy and determined the victim had been shot three times in the head at close range with a .22-caliber Colt semiautomatic pistol. State witnesses claimed the pistol was owned by Lael Brown and has never been found.
Grey said the best estimate he can give on time of death is between 9 p.m. Nov. 5 and 3 a.m. Nov. 7, 1993, given the body's decomposition, the temperature of the room and other circumstances.