Brown denied parole for role in 1974 murders

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - The Parole Board at the Solano State Prison in Vacaville denied triple murderer Barry Austin Brown’s request for parole for a period of five years.

On June 25, 1974, Brown entered the 7-Eleven at 218 Cardiff Place in Santa Cruz and shot the store clerk, 29-year-old Richard Pipes in the head three times at close range for reasons still unknown to this day.

Mr. Brown went on to shoot and kill the mother of his best friend, Lois McNamara, on July 12, 1974, and hitchhiker Stephen Russell on July 17, 1974, both in San Mateo County.

Officials say although Brown pled guilty to the three murders in 1974 and admitted to the killings, he abruptly changed his story in 1996 and began claiming that his then-girlfriend, Carole Campbell, shot all three victims. At the parole hearing on December 6, 2017, Brown presented a carefully crafted story of how he was asleep or waiting in the car while Ms. Campbell shot each of the three victims. When asked about his own actions at each murder scene, he claimed that everything was “a blur.”

Despite the Parole Board’s recommendation over the last 30 years that he engage in substance abuse treatment and self-help programming in prison, Brown has continually refused to do so.

Assistant District Attorney Kristina Oven argued at the hearing that Brown had no insight into his murder spree, no remorse for his victims, and no credibility given his current version of events.

“Until Mr. Brown can tell our community why he began to murder in 1974, why he committed three murders, and why he murdered these specific three victims, he is as dangerous today as he was in 1974,” says Oven.

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