Wife, Boyfriend Sentenced to 30 Years for Husband's Murder

Text messages and online search records helped officials close the case

A woman and her boyfriend will spend 30 years in prison for the 2014 death of the woman’s husband.

Larlane Pannell-Brown and Hussain Ali Zaheh were sentenced Wednesday in the death of Cecil Brown, the husband of Pannell-Brown. The couple was convicted of second-degree murder in April. 

Brown, 73, was found bludgeoned to death at the rear of his home on Aug. 4, 2014. 

Authorities said modern-day technology was the downfall of the woman and her lover. A chart of cellphone locations was used to illustrate Zaheh’s movements on the day of the murder and unraveled his alibis.

"The geographic location of Zadeh was circumstantial evidence that tied him to the murder location, but it also proved that he was lying," State Attorney John McCarthy said in April.

Pannell-Brown and Zadeh told police they hardly knew each other, but investigators found intimate, racy exchanges between the two on Pannell-Brown's cellphone.

Pannell-Brown’s web search history also uncovered searches for "What happens if you get Tasered [sic] in the head?" and "What drinks cause heart failure?"

Prosecutors said there were messages showing Pannell-Brown directing Zadeh through the home she shared with her husband, so he could kill him.

"This is one of the first cases I had where a cellphone and the information from the cellphone is what helped me the most," McCarthy has said.

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