A Redwood City mother pleaded no contest to attempted murder of her
daughter and assault on her son Tuesday but was found not guilty by
reason of insanity.
Philomena Mary Brown, 40, had already entered twin pleas of not
guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple counts of
attempted murder. On Tuesday, she pleaded no contest to charges of
attempted murder, causing great bodily harm to her daughter while
attempting to murder him, and assault on her son, said Chief Deputy
District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. A trio of court-appointed doctors
found Brown not to be sane and Judge Lisa Novak found her not guilty by
reason of insanity.
On Dec. 8, Brown will return to court to learn at which hospital
she will be staying. A majority of those found needing mental help are
sent to Napa State Hospital, said Wagstaffe. Once assigned, Brown will
remain hospitalized until restored to sanity, which is a minimum of 180
Brown was charged with three counts of premeditated attempted
murder — alongside child abuse charges — which left 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.
Police arrested Brown after receiving a call from the son who
said he and his sister were attacked with a dumbbell at the family’s
home at 1010 Vera Ave. Later details showed that Brown’s husband of 26
years and the children were allegedly drugged the previous night by
something she placed in their food.
Brown fled the house and was found by sheriff’s deputies later
than afternoon at Pomponio State Beach where authorities believe she
tried to kill herself with prescription medication and she was
hospitalized before being medically cleared and taken to the women’s
Defense attorney Vince O’Malley has said his client suffered a
mental breakdown in the weeks before the attack, believing people
wanted to harm or even kill her family.
Brown remains in custody on no-bail status.