By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
The prettiest pussies are John Brown pussies.
The happiest patients are John Brown patients.
Because . . .
1. Each has a sensitive clit.
2. All (99%) get orgasms.
3. Careful skin draping gives a natural appearance.
4. Men love the pretty pussies and the sexy response.
In what turned out to be a lucky break for the prosecution, Brown also owned videotapes of his operations. One of them, entitled "Jack Has a New Pisshole Behind His Balls," had been shot by a friend of the grateful patient and given to Brown as a gift. It showed Brown cutting an opening in Jack’s urethra just behind his testicles so Jack could urinate sitting down. "The guy was tattooed from his head to his knees," says Running. "He had big flames coming out of his butthole. Just when you think you’ve seen it all . . ."
But it was the video of transsexual surgery that most fired up the prosecution against Brown. "I’ve seen medical videos before," says Tom Basinski, an investigator in the D.A.’s office. "Usually the scalpel slices right in." But Brown’s scalpel was so dull he had to push hard, saw back and forth. "I said to myself, ‘Oh, my God. This is why this guy has to be stopped.’"
In the video’s opening shot (which is reminiscent of that famous scene from The Crying Game), an attractive Asian girl — Ann, the soon-to-be Las Vegas stripper — is shown standing naked from the waist up, quietly chatting with Brown, who is off camera. She has nicely formed breasts, and abundant black hair that cascades down her shoulders. Then slowly the camera moves down her body — and suddenly you realize she has a penis.
When the actual surgery starts, I find it so unsettling I have to turn off the tape. "All the men had the same reaction," says Running. "The judge asked, ‘Do I have to watch this surgery?’ I said, ‘Well, yes, you do. You’re the judge.’"
Apparently Brown intended the tape to be an advertising or training video, as the second scene shows the doctor sitting in a chair, wearing a white coat and explaining the upcoming operation to the camera. "He has a microphone, and his hand is kind of shaking," says Running. "You see him reach up and grab his hand. And this is his dominant hand, the one he operates with. He holds up crude drawings, ripped out of a spiral notebook. He says, ‘This is the corpa . . . the corpa . . .’ He’s stumped on the word. He finally says it, ‘the capora cavernosa,’ the spongy tissue on the underside of the penis. He goes on in this vein. You can see him waving [the cameraman] off when he loses a thought. The tape was so crude — you could hear dogs barking during the surgery and music playing. The scrotal skin was lying on a board. It had pushpins in it. It was so dirty and dried out, it looked like it had been run over by a tire."
To Brown’s critics, in fact, it almost seemed as if he had seen too many Frankenstein movies. "Brown does an operation called an ‘ileum loop,’" Running tells me, "in which he takes a piece of intestine, leaving it attached to the blood supply, and diverts it to make a vagina. The problem is, your intestines digest food, secrete enzymes, they smell. He almost killed a rebuttal witness in [a prior trial] by doing that to her. He pulls all your guts out on your stomach. Your intestines are connected to your vaginal lining. In many cases he stitches it back to your stomach, and you get peritonitis. He is quite the adventuresome surgeon. He uses human beings for guinea pigs. He is as close to [the Nazi doctor] Josef Mengele as you can get. But I couldn’t say that in court. It would have been grounds for a mistrial."
Initially, says Running, the case against Brown "had come in as involuntary manslaughter," but after reviewing the evidence against him, she upgraded the charges to "implied malice murder in the second degree." This applies in cases where the defendant does something that is dangerous to human life, knowing it is dangerous to human life and doing it anyway. But it wasn’t enough merely to show that Brown had botched Philip Bondy’s surgery and then abandoned him in a hotel room. To make the murder charge stick, Running had to demonstrate that Brown had a history of being reckless throughout his career. And to do that, she had to find former patients to testify against him.
They weren’t easy to come by. Some people told powerful, compelling stories, only to recant them a few weeks later. Some people clearly had hidden agendas. Others told stories that simply didn’t jibe with the known facts. On top of this were the large number of women who didn’t want it known that they once were men.
When D.A. investigator Basinski, a tall, outgoing former cop with a shaved head and big gray mustache, began calling the people on Brown’s patient lists, a lot of them just hung up on him. "Some were hookers," he says. "Some thought they were in trouble. Some just didn’t like the police. I called one woman, and an older woman answered. ‘Why do you want my son?’ she said. ‘He committed suicide two weeks ago.’"