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DSA In the News

Mom straight to trial for trying to kill family

Published on 7/3/2010

The Redwood City woman accused of drugging and trying to kill her family with a 10-pound dumbbell is headed straight to trial after declining to let a judge first decide if there is sufficient evidence.

Philomena Mary Brown, 39, waived her right to a preliminary hearing on Friday, her third court appearance since being arrested.

Brown is charged with three counts of premeditated attempted murder — alongside child abuse charges — which leaves her facing life in prison if convicted. The key is the premeditation allegation which prosecutors say is shown by her knowingly slipping drugs to her husband, 23-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son the night before the June 21 attack.

In comparison, simply attempted murder carries less than a decade in prison.

Brown’s waiving of a preliminary hearing means no details of the alleged incident will be aired publicly in court prior to a jury trial. Instead, Brown was automatically held to answer on all charges and ordered back to court July 16 to enter a Superior Court plea and set a trial date.

The bizarre attack on Brown’s family sent both children to the hospital and left her daughter with a skull fracture.

Police arrested Brown after receiving a call from her 13-year-old son just after 5:30 a.m. June 21. He reported Brown having attacked him and his 23-year-old sister at the family’s home at 1010 Vera Ave. Later details showed that Brown’s husband of 26 years, originally reported as having slept through the incident, was allegedly drugged the previous night by something she placed in their food.

The next morning, Brown allegedly went into her daughter’s bedroom and hit her in the head with a 10-pound dumbbell while she slept. Her son heard the altercation and encountered his mother in the hallway but was allegedly punched in the face with the same dumbbell.

Brown fled the house while her son reportedly ran to his father’s room and found him groggy.

The drug allegedly used has not yet been identified.

Sheriff’s deputies found Brown later that afternoon in her car at Pomponio State Beach near Half Moon Bay. Authorities believe she tried to kill herself with prescription medication and she was hospitalized before being medically cleared and taken to the women’s jail.

Brown has no prior criminal convictions in San Mateo County, according to court records.