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Police: Son thought dad would kill him

As Nevada County sheriff’s investigators handcuffed a young man on suspicion of murder at a Cedar Ridge home, he told them, “I thought my dad was going to kill me,” a sheriff’s spokesman said Monday.

Franklin Henderson Brown V, 26, is in county jail on suspicion of shooting his father, Franklin Henderson Brown IV, 53, in the chest on Sunday, officers said.

“There aren’t a whole lot of questions. It’s pretty clear-cut,” Sheriff’s Capt. Ron Smith said. “We’ve got the gun. There’s one bullet that’s been fired from it.”



The younger Brown has never been arrested in Nevada County, Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Evans said. He was known by neighbors as a transient who periodically lived with his father.

Father and son appeared to have a contentious relationship, according to neighbors who told police the elder Brown would often “kick his son out” after letting him stay for a while, Evans said.




The elder Brown’s ex-wife, also the mother of the younger Brown, was scheduled to meet with investigators Monday afternoon in Nevada City. She lives in Rocklin with her other son, who is 22.

Police also notified the elder Brown’s sister of the shooting. She lives in Rifle, Colo.

“She was shocked,” Evans said. “She had no idea of what was going on with the family.”

Guns in the house

An autopsy performed Monday by Dr. Donald Henrikson of Placer County determined the cause of death was a penetrating gunshot wound to the chest, Nevada County Deputy Coroner Cathy Valceschini said.

The bullet entered Brown’s body about an inch below the top of the sternum, Evans said.

The victim had called emergency dispatch at 2:41 p.m. Sunday, saying his son had shot him in the chest during an argument.

In a calm voice, he told the dispatcher, “‘My son just shot me in the chest with a .38 revolver. We were fighting, and I’m probably going to die,” Evans said.

Dispatchers heard a crash and presumed Brown had collapsed.

Deputies found the elder Brown lying on his back on his porch at his home on the 11000 block of Cedar Ridge Drive. The senior Brown was pronounced dead by rescue workers of the Ophir Hill Fire Protection District, who also responded to the scene, Evans said.

After the deputies arrived, the younger Brown – who already had told neighbors about the shooting – motioned to them to come over to him, Evans said. He told police he had just shot his father and he needed help. The younger man also pointed to a tree about 50 yards away where he had hidden a .38-caliber revolver.

As Sgt. Bill Smethers handcuffed the younger Brown, he told Smethers, “‘I thought my dad was going to kill me,” Evans said.

There were other guns in the house, Evans said, but he would not say where they were found nor whether the elder Brown was armed.

“The house was in a cluttered condition,” Evans said. He said there were no obvious signs of a fight, such as broken furniture.

After obtaining a search warrant near midnight Sunday, sheriff’s investigators and investigators with the California Department of Justice worked at the crime scene until dawn Monday.

No charges yet

Nevada County District Attorney Cliff Newell said Monday the younger Brown is being held on suspicion of murder without bail for 48 hours.

When that time is up, the district attorney’s office must file a charge or Brown will be released.

“The sheriff has not finished his investigation,” Newell said, adding that he has not yet determined whether he would file charges. “It’s all speculation at this point.”

Before the 48 hours is up, Newell said, he will review a preliminary report from the sheriff’s office to determine whether charges would be filed.

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To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail robynm@theunion.com or call 477-4236.

By Robyn Moormeister

Staff Writer

Shooting victim Franklin Henderson Brown IV was arrested Dec. 20, 2006, after he crashed his Ford F250 truck into his neighbor’s tree on Cedar Ridge Drive.

“If the tree hadn’t been there, he would have been in the kitchen,” neighbor Tim Boom told The Union.

As he was about to be booked into jail on suspicion of drunken driving in connection with that crash, Brown told jail staff that he was hiding a loaded minirevolver behind his scrotum, held in place by his briefs.

Brown was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, carrying a loaded firearm by a convicted felon and carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle or on a person.

He was not charged with the felony of bringing a weapon into jail because he revealed it before he was booked.

According to court records, Brown has never been convicted of a felony in Nevada County. Nevada County Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Evans said Brown moved here from Rifle, Colo., several years ago.

Two months after the accident, the district attorney charged Brown with drunken driving, drunken driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or more, obstructing, resisting or delaying a police officer and carrying a concealed weapon.

On Jan. 26, he was arrested on suspicion of driving with a suspended license.

He was scheduled to be arraigned in court for the drunken driving and concealed weapon charges on Feb. 13, but he failed to appear, and a judge issued a warrant for Brown’s arrest.

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To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail robynm @theunion.com or call 477-4236.


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