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Deadly Wives: Patricia Brown hired her sister and brother-in-law, Sheila and Leroy Wentzel, to kill her husband, Frederic Brown; All sentenced to prison

From Patricia Brown’s appeal: At trial, the evidence tended to show that in March or April of 1990, defendant contacted her sister and brother-in-law, Sheila and Leroy Wentzel, in New Hope, Alabama, and asked if they knew anyone who would shoot and kill her husband, Fred Brown, in High Point, North Carolina.   Leroy Wentzel volunteered.   Defendant met with the Wentzels in Alabama to discuss how her High Point house was arranged and to plan the murder.   Defendant paid the Wentzels $1,000 up front to kill her husband and offered to pay them an additional $30,000 upon completion of the killing.   After this initial meeting, Leroy Wentzel started driving to North Carolina.   On his way, Wentzel decided that he could not continue with the murder plans, and he called defendant and told her that he “couldn’t do it at that time.”

Several months later, Leroy and Sheila Wentzel visited defendant in her High Point home and met defendant’s husband, Fred Brown.   After this visit, on 23 April 1991, Leroy Wentzel again spoke with defendant, and they made arrangements for the murder of defendant’s husband.   Wentzel testified that they planned that he would call Fred Brown at his house on 24 April 1991, under the pretext that Wentzel’s car had broken down.   Defendant made arrangements to be at a real-estate meeting and to have her daughter out of the house so that her husband would be the only one home to receive Wentzel’s phone call.   At approximately noon on 24 April 1991, Wentzel called defendant and told her that he was on his way.

Wentzel drove to High Point.   He took a .22-caliber revolver and wore a yellow and black sweatshirt.   At approximately 9:30 p.m., Wentzel arrived in High Point and, from a dark area along Highway 68, called defendant’s home and told defendant’s husband that his car had broken down.   After learning Wentzel’s location, the victim said he would be out in a few minutes to assist him.   Wentzel opened the hood of his car and pulled the coil wire off so the vehicle would not start.   When the victim arrived, he turned the hazard lights of his vehicle on, and he and Wentzel looked under the hood of Wentzel’s vehicle and discussed what to do next.   Wentzel then suggested that they walk away from the car a distance.   While doing so, he told the victim that the victim’s wife wanted him dead and showed him the gun from under the sweatshirt.

The victim begged Wentzel not to kill him and started to run.   Nonetheless, Wentzel shot the victim once in the back, and he fell to the ground;  Wentzel then shot the victim twice more in the head from close range to make certain he was dead.   Wentzel returned to his car and proceeded to drive down the road.   However, upon remembering that defendant had told him to make the murder look like a robbery, Wentzel returned to the crime scene, removed the victim’s wallet from his back pocket, turned the hazard lights of the victim’s vehicle off and then started home to Alabama.   As he drove home, Wentzel threw the victim’s wallet away.   Several months later, he threw the gun into the Coosa River.   A passerby discovered the victim’s body lying facedown in a ditch beside Highway 68, with a sweatshirt wrapped around his right arm.   A pool of blood surrounded the victim’s head.   An autopsy indicated that the victim had sustained three gunshot wounds, one to the back and two to the left side of the head.   Over the course of the next few months, defendant paid Wentzel approximately $3,500.

Thereafter, in June 1994, when Leroy Wentzel was on the verge of suicide, he wrote two letters which he gave to his daughter, Janelle, with instructions to open only after his death.   In these letters, Wentzel stated that he “shot Fred Brown by his wife, Pat,” and that he was to be paid $30,000.   On 13 July 1994, Wentzel was arrested and jailed in Pennsylvania for failure to pay child support.   Also, on 13 July 1994, Janelle Wentzel gave her father’s letters to the police in Reading, Pennsylvania, and she confirmed that her father also had told her about the murder of Fred Brown and that he did it for his wife’s sister, the defendant.   The Reading Police Department contacted the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department with regard to the alleged homicide.   In November 1994, detectives from the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department talked with Wentzel regarding the killing of Fred Brown.   Wentzel gave statements to the detectives about the murder and his involvement.   Both of Wentzel’s sons confirmed that their father also had told them about the murder and that it was done for defendant, who was to receive insurance money as a result of her husband’s death.

State Man Arrested, Fighting Extradition
Brown/Wentzel [news story about the murder, that day or the next]
Trial begins in 4-year-old murder case
Son gives jurors new perspective of Fred Brown
Convicted murderer testifies against sister
Jurors get two portraits of Patricia Brown
Wife convicted in murder for hire
State of North Carolina v Patricia Brown 1999
Prison houses veterans block

Movies/Documentaries
Twisted Sisters: Wentzel/Brown Sisters

Defendants
Patricia Brown – convicted, sentenced to life, died in prison
Sheila Wentzel – convicted, sentenced to 50 years in prison
Leroy Wentzel – convicted, sentenced to life, still in prison

INMATE INFORMATION

PATRICIA G BROWN
Offender Number: 0485109
Inmate Status: INACTIVE
Gender: FEMALE
Race: WHITE
Ethnic Group: UNKNOWN
Birth Date: 01/21/1948
Age: 71

INMATE INFORMATION

SHELIA WENTZEL
Offender Number: 0474960
Inmate Status: INACTIVE
Probation/Parole/Post Release Status: INACTIVE
Gender: FEMALE
Race: WHITE
Ethnic Group: UNKNOWN
Birth Date: 10/06/1956
Age: 63

INMATE INFORMATION

LEROY W WENTZEL
Offender Number: 0473193
Inmate Status: ACTIVE
Gender: MALE
Race: WHITE
Ethnic Group: EUROPEAN/N.AM./AUSTR
Birth Date: 03/08/1943
Age: 76

 

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