Marlena Ann Brooks
19 Years Old

May 26, 1974 to May 31, 1993

Marlena was my oldest daughter. Born May 26, 1974, she was a blessing from the moment she arrived. Her smile was the prettiest I had ever seen. She had curly black hair and the cutest brown eyes. I was amazed at her intelligence. From a very young age, she began to learn things quickly. By the time Kindergarten arrived, she had already learned everything there was to learn. One of her favorite things to do was sing. She had memorized all of the commercials on television and sang right along with them. One of her special gifts was making friends easily. Whenever a new child came into her classroom, she befriended them and showed them around. This would be the one personality trait that stayed with her until her death. Her favorite food was pizza. Her favorite color was purple. She loved to skate, play tetherball, gymnastics and bike ride. She won trophies in the fifth and sixth grades for tetherball champ while winning ribbons in gymnastics. She was especially gifted so she excelled in school, winning awards for honor roll, citizenship, perfect attendance and achievement. She began to feel lonely at the age of 11 because she was an only child. That's when she decided it was time to start asking for a sibling. All of her other friends had brothers and/or sisters so she wanted one too. When I became pregnant in 1986, Marlena was ecstatic. She had said she wanted a sister and God granted her request. When Whitney was born in August of 1987, Marlena could not contain her happiness. Whitney was "her baby" and so she spoiled her every chance she got. Marlena would tell me, "Mom, I love to hear her laugh". Since she has the cutest laugh, Marlena would tickle Whitney so they could laugh together. Then, in June, 1989, I became pregnant again. Marlena and Whitney would talk to my stomach together. They both decided they wanted another sister so again God granted their wish. Janessa was born in February, 1990 with Marlena and Whitney squabbling over who was going to hold her first. Janessa was "their baby" and so the three of them had a bond that still remains today.

Marlena gave up her weekends and summers to baby sit her younger sisters after my husband and I separated. She was their "second mom". I had to work a lot of forced over time to keep our household running. It was Marlena that held us all together. She was very mature for her age and never smoked, drank, did drugs or break the law. Even at the tender age of sixteen, she was planning for her future. Little by little, she put things on layaway at K-Mart to furnish the apartment she would move into someday. She had even picked out her color schemes. By the time she was 18, she had all of her dishes, towels, appliances, bed set, television, VCR, Dresser, Vacuum, and pots and pans.

She graduated early from high school. In May of 1992, she was hired at Pacific Bell as a 411 operator. This job was perfect for her since she loved people. Since we were both in the same job but different locations, we would exchange stories at the end of the day. I miss this more than words can say. I was so proud of her and still am.

Her sisters are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, while my depression is so severe that I can't function even with the smallest of tasks. I don't have a husband around to help and my family has abandoned us because they "can't deal with it". The same day that I was told she was dead, my family stood in my living room, arguing about who would stay the night with us because none of them wanted to. They didn't want to be in the same house she lived in because it was too upsetting. When it came to getting support, we never got it and never will because, you see, Marlena was our family, our light, our support and our happiness and now she's gone because of some trigger happy idiot who didn't even bother to make sure he was shooting his intended victim. God should have taken us all together because there is no hope without her. marlena gave unconditional love and support, even when the times were tough. There is no getting through "tough times" any more. They are here to stay until we join her.

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

On May 31, 1993, my oldest daughter, Marlena A. Brooks was callously murdered along with her co-worker Sidney Newman.

Marlena had gotten off work from Pacific Bell at 5:30 pm. I remember her calling me on her break and asking me to cook bar-b-cued chicken, potato salad and baked beans for dinner. When she arrived home, I had dinner ready for her. Her girlfriend Tracy was living with us at the time, so we all sat down and ate. After dinner, Marlena and Tracy were discussing what they were going to do the rest of the evening. Tracy said she was waiting for a telephone call from her boyfriend. Marlena said she was either going to see Perry (a guy who was like a brother to her) or this guy from work who kept bugging her go to out with him.

Around 9:30 pm, she still hadn't heard back from Perry, so she decided to go see Sidney (the co-worker who kept asking her out). Since Sidney lived way across town and Tracy wouldn't go with her, I asked Marlena to have him come over here. She informed me that he was still working his late shift and that she would be safe because Sidney lived with his sister in a good part of town. She then reminded me that Pacific Bell does background checks on all of it's employees plus the area he lives in is in a new housing development. So off she went. I later found out from Tracy that she was scared and had a bad feeling, but dismissed it. She went to Sidney's house whereupon they decided to go to the park right up the street. They left and went walking in the park. It was a warm summer night and the park was busy with people. Philip Mann, Jr. passed by the park with his friend Daniel Chestang. When they saw my daughter's white Toyota sedan, they thought it was Philip's ex-girlfriend's (Michelle Brown) car. Philip had sworn he was going to kill her for leaving him and taking his daughter away. So, they went to Philip's house where they got his gun. They returned to the park. There were too many people so they parked the car and waited. Finally, around 11:10 pm, Philip decided he was ready, but chickened out. Daniel grabbed the gun off the seat and went into the park where he shot them. He shot at Marlena first. The bullet grazed her head. When she turned to run, he shot her again, this time in the temple. She fell to the ground. Sidney was hit in the chest as he turned to run. He managed to crawl a short distance before collapsing.

Both murderers were caught and arrested within 3 days. Philip Mann, Jr. is serving a 50 years to life sentence and is currently at Lone State Prison. Daniel Chestang is serving a 60 years to life sentence and is currently at Vacaville State Prison. Philip is a repeat offender. He had several assault and battery charges (against Michelle and her father) pending when this occurred. Daniel is a first time offender. They were convicted of first degree murder on both counts.

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Marlena Brooks