BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
An argument last year between Travis Karon Brown and a woman he'd been living with ended abruptly when Brown grabbed a baseball bat and struck her in the head.
Brown, 25, ended up beating Charla Haar to death. He later told authorities he was in such a rage he couldn't stop.
He was sentenced Wednesday to 29 years in prison for pleading no contest to crimes including voluntary manslaughter and willful cruelty to a child.
Defense attorney Fred Gagliardini said Brown took the plea deal to avoid a sentence that would leave him in prison for the rest of his life.
It also saved Haar's three children, all under the age of 10 at the time of their mother's death, from having to testify.
Prosecutors say Brown beat the 39-year-old Haar to death April 27, 2012 at their residence in the 3700 block of Eucalyptus Drive in east Bakersfield. The two had been arguing over whom Haar had been dating.
Deputies found Haar's body face down in a southwest bedroom with apparent blunt force trauma to her head. Brown at first told deputies he'd been sleeping in the living room and had awakend to discover the body.
He later admitted, deputies said, to beating Haar to death, and then covering her with a blanket to prevent the children from seeing their mother's body.
Afterward, Brown took the children to a corner market and called 911 before returning to the residence and waiting for deputies to arrive.
Deputy District Attorney Tamara Tuivaiti prosecuted the case. In addition to voluntary manslaughter and four counts of willful cruelty to a child, Brown pleaded no contest Nov. 15 to three counts of kidnapping a child under 14 years old, first-degree burglary, spousal abuse, threatening with the intent to terrorize and false imprisonment with violence.
Brown had previously pleaded no contest in May 2008 to felony cruelty to animals and was sentenced to a year and a half in prison, according to Kern County Superior Court records.