Maryland man convicted of 2nd-degree murder for a 2nd time

“We are thankful and breathing a sigh of relief that it is over,” the victim’s daughter said during a news conference held by Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy at the Circuit Court. (WTOP/Shayna Estulin)

A Takoma Park, Maryland, man, who had his second-degree murder conviction overturned, has now been found guilty again.

Hussain Ali Zadeh, 55, was initially convicted in 2017 of second-degree murder in the killing of Cecil Brown, 73, in the backyard of Brown’s Takoma Park house.

Zadeh was having an affair with Brown’s wife, Larlane Pannell-Brown, who was 68 at the time.

Prosecutors said Zadeh and Pannell-Brown beat Brown to death. Both were tried together. Pannell-Brown was also convicted of second-degree murder.

In 2020, the Maryland Court of Appeals overturned Zadeh’s conviction, finding that the admission of testimony against Pannell-Brown biased the jury against Zadeh.

The state then retried the case against Zadeh in the Montgomery County Circuit Court. On Thursday, a jury found Zadeh guilty of second-degree murder after four hours of deliberation.

Brown’s daughter, Belinda Payne, said she was grateful for the conviction.

“We are thankful and breathing a sigh of relief that it is over,” Payne said during a news conference held by Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy at the Circuit Court.

Zadeh is expected to be sentenced in February and faces a maximum of 30 years. Payne said she will be at every bail review to make sure he serves the full sentence.

“They killed the wrong man but they got the right daughter,” Payne said.

The defendants initially claimed to barely know each other. But electronic records, including 30 hotel receipts, helped convict them, authorities said.

Electronic links between Pannell-Brown and Zadeh included:

  • A shared bank account
  • A shared cellphone account
  • Text messages immediately before the murder
  • Many gifts from Pannell-Brown to Zadeh, including a Jaguar station wagon
  • Up to 30 receipts from hotels a few blocks from where Brown-Pannell and Zadeh lived.

McCarthy called the killing “a violent, vicious attack,” and said before the killing, Brown and Pannell-Brown had a 50-year relationship. They had been married since 1992. Pannell-Brown remains incarcerated and is serving a 30-year sentence.

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