Closing Arguments in Jim Brown Case
Sep. 08, 1999
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Jim Brown's wife sat with her eyes on the jury Wednesday as a prosecutor told them to believe the terror in her voice on a 911 tape and reject testimony in which she recanted domestic violence claims against her husband.
``Her testimony about what happened makes no sense at all,'' Deputy City Attorney Grace Kim Lee said. ``What really happened is what she told the 911 operator.''
Jurors heard again the tape in which a tearful Monique Brown calls for help, saying her husband has smashed the windows on her car with a shovel, has a gun in the house and has threatened her life.
``What really happened is he was enraged. ... He threatened to kill her by snapping her neck,'' Lee said.
A defense lawyer was to deliver his closing argument later in the day.
Brown, a 63-year-old Hall of Fame football great, could face 18 months in jail if he is convicted of misdemeanor counts of making terrorist threats and vandalism. He has a long history of arrests for alleged attacks on women but never has been convicted.
Municipal Judge Dale Fischer told jurors they could consider Brown's history of domestic violence in their deliberations but could not use it as the sole basis for convicting him.
In her jury instructions, given before final arguments, the judge explained the elements of making a terrorist threat, including the fact that the victim must be in fear for their immediate safety.
On the night of June 15, Monique Brown fled her home and ran down the hillside to a neighbor's house about four doors away. The 25-year-old woman asked to use the phone and called 911.
Lee said the distance she ran showed how frightened she was. On that night, at the police station, Lee noted, Monique Brown told officers, ``She didn't want the defendant arrested but she wanted to make a record in case something happened to her.''
Lee reminded jurors that Monique Brown had told police of prior domestic violence incidents in which her husband blackened her eye, choked her and stood over her with a metal spear threatening her life.
She took the stand during the trial and denied all of it. Her husband's defense called a psychiatrist who testified that his wife had a ``borderline personality disorder'' that would have caused her to lie.
On the night in question, Lee said, Jim Brown took a shovel and beat on her car out of anger.
``Why is he beating her car? He was sending her a clear message,'' Lee said. ``When she saw the defendant beating on the windows of her car, she knows that she's next. And she starts running.''