Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

A 41-year-old man strangled a friend in his Huntington Beach home with such vigor that he broke a bone in her neck and days later led police on an hour-long chase on his way to Las Vegas, a prosecutor seeking a first-degree murder conviction told jurors Tuesday.

Ean Keith Brown’s attorney said that while there’s no dispute his client killed 21-year-old Dolores “Arias” Fagan, it was a case of involuntary manslaughter at the hands of a drug-addicted man with the mind of a third- grader.

Brown was living in a motor home parked in the driveway of his mother and stepfather’s home at 8391 Danbury Circle in Huntington Beach when he went out partying with transients and Fagan in Hidden Valley Park the night she was killed, Assistant District Attorney Howard Gundy said.

The two grew up together in the neighborhood and would frequently get together to do drugs when the San Luis Obispo resident was in town visiting her grandmother, Gundy said.

Fagan, who had a long history of drug and alcohol issues, got falling- down drunk at the Jan. 6, 2012, party and needed help stumbling back to the defendant’s motor home, Gundy said.

A homeless woman who frequently camps at Hidden Valley is expected to be among the witnesses in the trial, Gundy said.

What happened in the motor home was not exactly clear because investigators had to rely on physical evidence and Brown’s statements to police to piece together a scenario. The victim likely died sometime after midnight Jan. 7 or Jan. 8, Gundy said.

There was evidence in the motor home of fecal matter smeared on clothes and elsewhere, consistent with a victim of strangulation losing control of their bowels, Gundy said. Brown used paper and tissue to stop the victim’s defecation and wrapped her body in a sleeping bag, Gundy said.

Investigators also believe she was beaten, Gundy said.

Brown left the RV on Jan. 8, and told his stepsister what happened before he started driving to Las Vegas, prompting the sibling to contact their mother, who called police, Gundy said.

Brown refused to pull over when he was spotted on the northbound Mojave (15) Freeway by San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers, touching off an hour-long pursuit in which he tossed his cell phone out the window before being arrested, Gundy said.

The defendant’s DNA was found under the victim’s fingernails, on her breasts and in her crotch area, Gundy said. To buttress the prosecution’s theory that he sexually assaulted the victim, a 27-year-old transient is expected to testify that Brown forced himself on her in the motor home weeks before Fagan’s death, Gundy said.

The woman continued to stay with Brown, who told her at one point, ‘Hey, if you’re going to be staying here you’ve got to give it up,” Gundy alleged. The woman did not report the incident to police, but came forward after hearing of Fagan’s death, Gundy said.

Brown’s attorney, David Dworakowski of the Orange County Public Defender’s Office, said his client had “no motive” to kill the victim.

The two had a “bond of love,” Dworakowski said. “In this case the bond was drugs.”

The two would indulge in “the worst drugs known to mankind,” such as methamphetamine, bath salts and vapor from paint “huffed” out of a bag, the attorney said.

Methamphetamine “played a huge role in this case,” said Dworakowski, who told jurors that the drug can make a user delusional.

The victim “died at the hands of Ean Brown,” Dworakowski said. “But that is not what this case is about … What this case is about is there was no murder and there are no rapes or attempted rapes.”

Brown told police he thought he was just trying to help his friend fall unconscious, not kill her, Dworakowski said.

“Irrational, illogical? It is. Welcome to this case,” Dworakowski said. “Welcome to the bizarre. Welcome to the world of methamphetamine.”

Brown has long struggled with “mental retardation,” according to his attorney, who said his client “has the mind of a third-grader, a 10-year-old. Think Lenny in ‘Of Mice and Men.”‘

Experts are also expected to testify the defendant has a long history of mental illness and “schizophrenic-type behavior,” Dworakowski said.

Brown had consensual sex with the 27-year-old woman and even asked her to be his girlfriend, Dworakowski said. The woman, whose name was withheld, asked him not to tell her boyfriend about their sexual encounter, according to the attorney.

“Her actions are completely inconsistent with her ever having been raped by Ean Brown,” Dworakowski said.

City News Service

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.