A former Lancaster resident convicted of murdering his live-in girlfriend and her 18-year-old daughter, who had just been reunited with her mother for the first time since birth, lost his California Supreme Court appeal this week.
The state’s highest court denied a defense petition seeking its review of the case against Christopher Anthony Brown, who is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for the Nov. 21, 2006, shooting deaths of Christine Bacon and her daughter, Crystal Dawkins.
During the young woman’s visit, Brown and his girlfriend got into an argument that lasted for days. He shot both women multiple times in the belief that Bacon planned to end their relationship and keep the house they shared in Lancaster, said Deputy District Attorney William Chung.
Dawkins’ father unsuccessfully tried to file a missing person’s report when his daughter failed to return home to South Carolina after a week.
He ended up visiting Southern California and began his own investigation in an effort to find his daughter, and Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies ultimately found the victims on Dec. 18, 2006, inside the home Brown and Bacon shared.
A representative from the coroner’s office testified that the women had likely been dead for three to four weeks, according to a March 8 appellate court ruling that upheld Brown’s conviction. That panel rejected the defense’s contention that a Lancaster judge had erred in admitting some statements made by the victims in phone calls before they were killed.
Brown was arrested in Arizona in January 2007 in connection with the killings.
He was convicted in March 2014 of two counts of first-degree murder, with jurors finding true the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders and an allegation that he had personally used and intentionally discharged a firearm.