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DSA In the News

Mother accused of trying to kill family to enter plea

Published on 7/2/2010

A 49-year-old mother suspected of drugging and attacking her family in their Redwood City home on June 21 is scheduled to appear in court this morning to enter a plea.

Philomena Brown is charged with three counts of attempted murder and two counts of felony child abuse for allegedly drugging her husband of 26 years and two children, ages 23 and 13, on the night of June 20, then attacking the two children early the next morning.

Although Brown had allegedly showed some signs of mental instability in the weeks prior, she did not have a long history of mental illness, San Mateo County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Morris Maya said.

The night before the attack, Brown cooked her family dinner and nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary, according to Morris. But at about 4 a.m. the next morning, Brown allegedly went into her sleeping daughter’s room and hit her in the head with a 10-pound dumbbell, causing a skull fracture, Morris said.

Brown’s son heard screaming and went into the hallway, where his mother allegedly punched him in the face with the dumbbell in her hand, Morris said. The son was able to fight her off, and Brown left the house and drove to the coast, he said.

When the son ran into his father’s room, he discovered that the father was suffering from the effects of drugs and couldn’t stand up, according to Morris. The son felt similar effects and began to throw up.

Investigators have not yet determined what drug was used, Morris said.

Brown was later found by police face down and unresponsive in the sand at Pomponio State Beach, near Half Moon Bay. According to the district attorney’s office, Brown had several pill bottles in her purse. She was transported to a hospital for treatment.

Redwood City police responded to a report of an assault at the home in the 1000 block of Vera Avenue at about 5:30 a.m.

Brown is currently in custody with no bail.