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BROWN, DEBRA DENISE
ON DEATH ROW SINCE 06-23-86
DOB: 11-11-1962 DOC#: 864793 Black Female


Lake County Superior CourtJudge Richard W. Maroc
Prosecutor: Thomas W. Vanes, Kathleen O'Halloran
Defense: Daniel L. Toomey, Albert E. Marshall
Date of Murder: June 18, 1984
Victim(s): Tamika Turks B/F/7 (No relationship to Brown)
Method of Murder: ligature strangulation with bedsheet


Summary: 7 year old Tamika and her 9 year old niece, Annie, were walking back from the candy store to their home when they were confronted by Brown and Alton Coleman. Brown and Coleman convinced them to walk into the woods to play a game. Once there, they removed Tamika's shirt and tore it into small strips which they used to bind and gag the children. When Tamika began to cry, Brown held her nose and mouth while Coleman stomped on her chest. After carrying Tamika a short distance away, Annie was forced to perform oral sex on both Brown and Coleman, then Coleman raped her. Brown and Coleman then choked her until she was unconscious. When she awoke, they were gone. Tamika was found dead in the bushes nearby, strangled with an elastic strip of bedsheet. The same fabric was later found in the apartment shared by Coleman and Brown. Annie received cuts so deep that her intestines were protruding into her vagina. Evidence of a remarkably similar murder in Ohio was admitted at trial. These acts proved to be part of a midwestern crime spee by Coleman and Brown that included up to 8 murders, 7 rapes, 3 kidnappings , and 14 armed robberies.
Trial: Information/PC for Murder and DP filed (11-26-84); Motion for Detainer filed (05-17-85); Initial Hearing (12-10-85); Coleman Trial (03-31-86 to 04-12-86); Voir Dire (05-07-86, 05-08-86, 05-09-86, 05-10-86, 05-12-86): Jury Trial (05-12-86, 05-13-86. 05-14-86, 05-15-86, 05-16-86, 05-17-86); Deliberations 3 hours, 37 minutes; Verdict (05-17-86); DP Trial (05-17-86; 05-19-86, 05-20-86, 05-21-86); Deliberations 10 hours, 30 minutes; Verdict (05-22-86); Court Sentencing (06-20-86, 06-23-86).
Conviction: Murder, Attempted Murder (A Felony), Child Molesting (A Felony)
Sentencing: June 23, 1986 (Death Sentence, 40 years, 40 years)
Aggravating Circumstances: b(1) Child Molesting; b (7) 2 prior murder convictions in Ohio
Mitigating Circumstances: borderline mental retardation, substantial domination by Coleman; dependent personality,general lack of aggressiveness, head trauma as a child, 21 years old at time of murder
Direct Appeal:Brown v. State, 577 N.E.2d 221 (Ind. August 29, 1991) Conviction Affirmed 4-1 DP Affirmed 4-1 Shepard Opinion; Givan, Dickson, Krahulik concur; Debruler dissents.
Brown v. State, 583 N.E.2d 125 (Ind. 1991) (Rehearing Denied 4-1)Shepard Opinion; Givan, Dickson, Krahulik concur; Debruler dissents.
Brown v. Indiana, 113 S. Ct. 101 (1992) (Cert. denied) Brown v. Indiana, 113 S. Ct. 639 (1992) (Rehearing denied)
PCR:PCR Petition filed 04-08-93. Denied by Special Judge Richard J. Conroy 02-28-96
Brown v. State, 698 N.E.2d 1132 (Ind. 1990) (Appeal of PCR denial by Special Judge Richard P. Conroy)Affirmed 5-0 Sullivan Opinion; Shepard, Dickson, Selby, Boehm concur.Brown v. Indiana, 119 S. Ct. 1367 (1999) (Cert. denied).
Habeas: Petition filed and pending in the United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio. The State of Indiana's Petition to Transfer was denied. (Brown has been incarcerated in Ohio since her 1991 convictions for Aggravated Murder in Hamilton County. Her Ohio death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1991 by outgoing Ohio Governor Richard Celeste. On April 26, 2002 Alton Coleman was executed by lethal injection in the state of Ohio.)