Marsh says Dawkins’ demand for action and his citizen’s investigation ultimately led to Brown’s January 18 arrest in Arizona by Pima County police. Dawkins would not give up “in his determination to raise awareness that wasn’t being addressed,” Marsh tells the Weekly. “Most of us as human beings, and particularly as parents — there’s a premonition, there’s a feeling. And he obviously felt it, he addressed it and he worked it hard. Sadly, there was something very wrong.”
Today, Brown faces two counts of first-degree murder in a special-circumstances case that could bring him the death penalty. Brown is known as a bad actor — Arizona’s Pima County Prosecutor Mark Diebolt says he is tied to Jamaican organized crime. He was convicted in Arizona in July for drug trafficking and will be extradited to Los Angeles in a few weeks.
Dawkins’ pursuit of justice has given purpose to a life devastated by grief. He says he sold his landscaping business to pay expenses he incurred searching for his daughter, sleeps two hours a day, has lost 40 pounds and is on the brink of clinical depression.
He has also launched legal action, filing a Notice of Claim — a precursor to a lawsuit — against the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station, alleging racial discrimination and negligence in handling his daughter’s disappearance. (Dawkins, his daughter, Bacon and Brown are all Jamaican-born blacks.) Officials say an internal-affairs investigation is also under way.
One of his attorneys, Abbas Kazerounian, says Dawkins’ legal team has enlisted a high-powered public relations firm, and is trying to involve activist Al Sharpton. Dawkins wants prosecutors to seek the death penalty for the two murders, but says pursuing legal action against the Sheriff’s Department is just as much a part of honoring his daughter’s memory.
Lancaster station commander Captain Carl Deeley defends the actions by deputies, saying that deputies interviewed Bacon and Crystal Dawkins at length before their deaths, after Crystal took her fears about Christopher Brown to them. Deeley says the mother, Bacon, “flat-out said there had been no violence in their relationship.” Moreover, deputies had no choice but to refuse Dawkins’ request that they enter the home on Price Lane, since they lacked any evidence that anyone was in danger, he says.
“I really feel horrible for him,” says Deeley. But “he’s looking for someone to blame, and the person to blame is the person who’s in custody now.”
Dawkins describes the experience as a “living hell” in a life that has seen significant low points. In 1989, he served jail time on drug possession charges and ended up homeless. While living in New York’s subways, he was approached by law enforcement officials seeking a street informant, and Dawkins ultimately infiltrated a Jamaican organized crime ring. Later, he was the star witness in a trial that led to Darryl Whiting’s conviction and life sentence.
Now, Dawkins says, he has to pursue a promise to his daughters that he made in happier times: “I have to live unto my responsibility .?.?. I will always be there for my children.”