Knightdale woman pleads guilty to
ex-husband's 2006 shooting death
By Amanda Lamb - Wral.com
February 14, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — A Knightdale woman charged with
shooting and killing her ex-husband at a Raleigh park in front of
their two children nearly seven years ago was sentenced Thursday
to 16 to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree
Camellia Boyd Norton Brown was arrested March
24, 2006, after she shot Earl Thierry Brown, 42, at Pullen Park
off of Ashe Avenue.
Wake County Deputy District Attorney Howard
Cummings said during a hearing Thursday that the two were meeting
to exchange custody of their 6-year-old son and 8-year-old
The children were in Earl Brown's car eating
pizza, Cummings said, and Camellia Brown and her former husband
were outside the car when she shot him once with a .22-caliber
Earl Brown was taken to a local hospital, where
he died a short time later.
"I didn't mean for him to die that day,"
Camellia Brown told Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens. "I'm
sorry that it came to that, but I believed he was, in fact,
destroying my children."
Up until that night, she told Stephens, she had
neither seen her husband nor the children for more than a year and
felt like that she wasn't going to get to see them again.
Brown said that she meant to shoot her husband
in the spleen, because it could have been removed, and purposely
made sure to avoid his kidney because he had undergone a
"He was a fine son and a fine brother,"
Cummings told reporters after the plea. "It's always been the
position of the family that she planned this. Otherwise, why would
you take a gun to visit with your ex-husband who had custody of
Stephens gave Brown credit for time served,
meaning she will have to serve at least nine more years in prison
before she can be released.
Brown's first-degree murder trial was delayed
for years after another judge ruled that she was incompetent to
stand trial and ordered that she undergo treatment at a state
Earl Brown's mother, Suzanne Brown, said
Thursday that she agreed to the plea deal only to keep the
children from having to testify – a move Cummings said would have
been necessary for the state to prove its case.
"If they were to see her now, I don't think it
would be very good for them," she said. "It's still fresh in their
minds what she did."
"It's for that reason and only that reason that
the family agreed to this second-degree murder plea," Cummings
The first time Brown would be up for a
possibility of parole would be when the children, now 13 and 15,
"Hopefully, at that time, they will have
matured and be able to make their own decisions about whether or
not they have any desire to see their mother," Cummings said.
911 call implicates ex-wife in attack
Dispatchers hear woman's admission. Man dies
hours after Pullen Park incident
By Sarah Ovaska - NewsObserver.com
March 30, 2006
The man fatally shot in a city park Friday
night used a cell phone to tell emergency dispatchers that his
ex-wife had attacked him before she took the phone and echoed his
statement, according to a copy of the 911 call released Wednesday
Earl Thierry Brown, 42, of Knightdale, died at
WakeMed Raleigh Campus five hours after after being shot in the
torso at 7 p.m. in Raleigh's Pullen Park. His ex-wife, Camellia
Boyd Norton Brown, 47, of Fuquay-Varina, is charged with murder by
the Raleigh Police Department and is being held without bail in
the Wake County jail.
Camellia Brown had been told by a Wake County
judge not to come near Earl Brown or the couple's two children
after a five-year custody battle in which she stalked and falsely
accused her ex-husband of sexually abusing the couple's 8-year-old
daughter and physically abusing their 6-year-old son.
Both children were at the park at the time of
"Just go away, please," Earl Brown said to his
ex-wife before speaking to an emergency dispatcher. "I'm at Pullen
Park, I've been shot."
A few moments later, as Earl Brown's condition
worsened, a hysterical Camellia Brown is heard saying, "I killed
you, I killed you."
She then spoke with the emergency dispatcher
between screams and sobs. After the dispatcher asked whether she
shot Earl Brown, Camellia Brown responded that she had.
The couple's two children can be heard in the
background of the call. Camellia Brown tells them to pray.
The Browns married in 1996 and divorced five
years later. Earl Brown, a state Department of Revenue employee
who went by Thierry, was awarded sole custody of both children
after a judge questioned Camellia Brown's mental stability and
said her conduct traumatized the two children.
On several occasions, Camellia Brown donned a
wig and tried to see the children in their school. She was
arrested in June by Knightdale police for breaking into Earl
Brown's home and demanding to see their children.
The couple once worked at a Jackson-Hewitt tax
service office in Raleigh, according to Thomas Dimmock, a lawyer
who represented Earl Brown in custody proceedings. Camellia Brown
had an unsuccessful bid for mayor of Garner in 1993 when she ran
as Camellia B. Norton.
At the end of the emergency call, a Raleigh
police officer arrived and began consoling the distraught
"It's all right, it's all right," the officer
is heard saying. "Things are OK."
A funeral service for Brown will be held at 11
a.m. Saturday at Mid-Way Baptist Church, 6910 Fayetteville Road in
Mother had history of trouble
Police say Camellia Brown repeatedly violated
court orders to stay away from her ex-husband and children
Sarah Ovaska and Jennifer Brevorka - NewsObserver.com
March 28, 2006
Authorities think Camellia Brown -- fixated for
years over unfounded allegations that her ex-husband abused their
two children -- repeatedly violated protective orders and once
broke into his Knightdale home and, several times, wore a wig to
pass undetected at the children's school.
The 47-year-old woman was in court Monday,
where she was ordered held without bond after being charged with
murder in connection with the Friday shooting death of Earl
Thierry Brown, 42.
Raleigh police detectives believe that, more
than two months after an appeal for custody of her children was
turned down, Camellia Brown shot and killed her ex-husband in
Raleigh's Pullen Park at around 7 p.m. Friday, with the couple's
8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son nearby.
"She so firmly believed [that abuse occurred]
that it just ate her up," said Thomas Dimmock, the attorney who
represented Earl Brown in custody proceedings. "She has some
serious delusions about reality and facts."
Bruce James, a friend who allowed Camellia
Brown to move into his Fuquay-Varina home in August, said she was
piecing her life back together and cared for elderly neighbors. He
said when Brown left Fuquay-Varina on Friday afternoon, she said
she was going to the Wake County Courthouse in downtown Raleigh.
She made no mention of plans to see her children or ex-husband,
Police did not say on Monday why they think the
divorced couple, who married in 1996 and divorced five years
later, and their two children were together at Pullen Park.
Concerns about Camellia Brown's mental
stability emerged in the years after the couple's 2001 divorce. A
16-page October court order that gave sole custody to Earl Brown
and prohibited Camellia Brown from having any contact with her
children details a five-year battle where Camellia Brown took
dramatic steps to try to win custody of her children by:
* Lying in court documents. Camellia Brown
attempted to obtain protective orders against her husband by
falsely claiming Earl Brown had physically abused their son and
sexually molested their daughter.
* Threatening to kill her ex-husband.
* Claiming that her husband was having personal
contact with social workers who were involved in the couple's
* Peppering her daughter with false allegations
that the girl's father sexually molested her. Camellia Brown's
mental state had "created an environment where [the daughter]
believed things occurred whether or not they did, in fact
happen... ." a judge wrote.
Eventually, a Wake County judge found that
Camellia Brown's mental instability had traumatized the children
and "as such, constituted child abuse."
As the custody case for the Brown's two
children dragged on, Camellia Brown became more agitated and
appeared, at times, mentally unstable, according to court
documents. Court documents allege that Camellia Brown violated
court instructions by doing things such as:
* Showing up at the home of a social worker who
worked with the family.
* Violating a 2003 protective order that
prohibited her from being within 500 feet of Earl Brown, her
children or the children's schools. In November 2004, Camellia
Brown moved into an apartment that overlooked her ex-husband's
back yard. Brown would, at times, don a spiral curled wig and go
to her children's schools.
In February 2005, a Wake County judge found
that Camellia Brown violated the 2003 protective order. The judge
ruled that Camellia Brown must live 2,000 feet away from her
children and have no contact with her ex-husband or children.
In June, Knightdale police arrested her when
she broke into Earl Brown's home, demanding to see her son and
Earl Brown's next-door neighbor and landlord,
Betty Schmiedel, said before the June break-in, she would often
see Camellia Brown lurking around the home. Earl Brown didn't talk
about the problems very much, but that day brought his children
over Schmiedel's house so they wouldn't see police arrest their
"He was always concerned about his children,"
Schmiedel said. "He was a good daddy."
(Photo by Chad Flowers/Wral.com)