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The Patricia Brown murder trial continues as the defendant's son offers jurors a different view of his father, victim Fred Brown.


Jurors in Patricia Brown's first-degree murder trial on Friday got a glimpse of Fred Brown, the father, as the couple's son testified about the man his mother is accused of plotting to have murdered.

Wearing his dress blues, the U.S. Air Force Airman First Class recalled a pleasant childhood in which his parents shopped and traveled together.Derek Brown said his father loved tomato sandwiches, wrestling playfully with his children and the German festival Oktoberfest.

Earlier in the trial, prosecution witnesses portrayed Fred Brown as an unhappily married man with financial problems brought on in part by a wife who insisted on living in a nice High Point home.

Witnesses also testified Brown disliked the birds his wife raised.

According to Derek Brown, 23, his father looked at the Oak Hollow home as an investment and insisted on purchasing it. He said his father enjoyed animals, including the birds.

Brown said his parents never discussed finances with him and that he does not know how much insurance money his mother collected after his father's death.

Derek Brown recalled seeing an argument in March 1991 between his father and Leroy Wentzel, the man accused of murdering him. He watched from the kitchen as the two men argued for 30 minutes.

Wentzel's stepson testified Thursday that Leroy Wentzel attempted to blackmail Fred Brown that weekend in connection to an alleged girlfriend, but Brown refused to pay him any money.

Afterward, the defense claims Wentzel and his wife, Sheila Wentzel, murdered Brown, hoping Patricia Brown would give them some of the insurance money.

The Wentzels, who have confessed and been sentenced for the murder, say Patricia Brown, who is Sheila Wentzel's sister, masterminded the murder.

Fred Brown, a GTCC instructor, was found dead in a ditch April 25, 1991. He had been shot three times.


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