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Man Accused Of Tossing 4-Year-Old From Cliff To Avoid Child Support Goes To Trial Again

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A man accused of tossing his 4-year-old daughter off a cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes 15 years ago to get out of paying child support for her is going to trial for a third time today.Cameron John Brown, 53, has been charged for the murder of his daughter Lauren Sarene Key who tumbled to her death from Inspiration Point on Nov. 8, 2000. But the last two juries—in 2006 and later 2009—who heard the case deadlocked over whether to convict Brown of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter, according to City News Service.

Today a prosecutor told jurors that Brown took his daughter on a "dangerous hike" before throwing her off a 120-foot cliff, and that evidence makes it "clear that Lauren did not slip and fall." Prosecutors say that Brown tried to convince the Lauren's mother to have an abortion when she got pregnant early in their relationship. They say he didn't show interest in the child until her mother sought child support when she was over 3 years old. Prosecutors say Brown's story that he could barely keep up with a 4-year-old who led him to the unfenced Inspiration Point seemed suspicious, as was the circuitous route Brown took to find a cell phone to call 9-1-1.

Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum told the jury, "Murdering Lauren was the ultimate payback to this woman he despised."

Sarah Key-Marer, Lauren's mother, was called as the prosecution's first witness. She testified that years earlier when she was dating Brown he had pointed to a cliff and told her that two children had died there a week or two earlier. She said, "It upset me ... I was very distraught. It stuck in my mind."

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Brown's attorney Aron Laub said that there two tragedies here: the girl falling to her death and her father being unfairly prosecuted. Laub says Brown has been cooperative with the investigation from the beginning and he told the jury, "He said it was an accident ... The police didn't believe him. From the beginning of the investigation, the investigation was
biased."

Brown is a former baggage handler at LAX and his last attorney told a jury he was a "warm, loving father" who "loved her very much." If you're interested in Brown's side of the story, there are a couple of websites (not all of them fully fleshed out) set up for that purpose.

Brown was arrested three years after his daughter's death, and he had been jailed without bail since then. He could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if he's convicted of first-degree murder with special circumstances: the intent for financial gain and murder while lying in wait.