LOS ANGELES — A state appeals court panel on Tuesday upheld a former Lancaster resident’s conviction for 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.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal 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.
Christopher Anthony Brown 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.
Dawkins had flown from South Carolina to spend Thanksgiving with Bacon, whom she had not met since birth, according to testimony presented during Brown’s trial.
During the young woman’s visit, Brown and his girlfriend got into an argument that lasted for days, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Brown shot both women multiple times in the belief that Bacon planned to end their relationship and keep the house they shared in Lancaster, Deputy District Attorney William Chung said.
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 beginning 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 the appellate court panel’s 21-page ruling.
Brown was arrested in Arizona in January 2007 in connection with the killings.
Previous related story: Lancaster man sentenced in 2006 killing of mother and daughter