15 years later, dad convicted of throwing daughter off cliff to avoid child support

Cameron John Brown and Daughter

Nearly 15 years after 4-year-old Lauren Sarene Key fell to her death from a California cliff, a jury has convicted her father, Cameron Brown, of premeditated murder. Although he claimed the girl tripped, the prosecution said Brown killed his daughter to avoid paying child support.

“I think it’s very clear that the main motivation for the defendant in this case was just revenge,” Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum told reporters, The Daily Breeze reports. “He hated [Lauren’s mom] Sarah [Key-Marer] so much that he was willing to go to these lengths to get back at her. Obviously, the financial motive was a factor, but it was primarily his hatred of Sarah, of Lauren’s mother, that propelled this.”

Brown was tried twice before, in 2006 and 2009. In both of those cases, the jury couldn’t come to an agreement on what charge was appropriate for Brown, although all past jury members were said to agree he was guilty of something.

“We appreciate the evidence they provided for us to consider… and feel we have delivered justice,” said Greg Apodaca, the foreman of the jury that convicted Brown. “The experts made it pretty clear and when we did the site visit, it was clear to us, as well. It didn’t seem likely that a 4-year-old girl would be up there of her own volition.”

Speaking to reporters this week, Lauren’s mother said she’s happy there is finally some resolution.

“All I ever wanted was that he would take responsibility for what happened that day, so I’m thankful for God for carrying me and my family and my friends through this time,” she said. “Lauren was our gift from God, the best thing that ever happened to us.”

Brown has been in jail without the opportunity to post bail since November 2003. He reportedly showed no emotion when the verdict was read, but continued to claim he was innocent when asked about his upcoming sentencing on June 19.

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