Court denies appeal from father of The 5 Browns

Published: Monday, April 22 2013 5:50 p.m. MDT

Keith Brown, left, stands at the podium with attorney Steven Shapiro as Fourth District Judge David Mortensen delivers Brown's sentence at the Fourth District Courthouse in Provo on March 31, 2011.

James Roh, Mandatory Credit

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Court of Appeals will not hear an appeal filed by the father of the classically trained piano group The 5 Browns, who was sent to prison for sexually abusing his daughters when they were children.

In a brief ruling filed Thursday, the court dismissed an appeal filed by Keith Brown, citing a lack of jurisdiction. Brown, 57, pleaded guilty to sodomy on a child, a first-degree felony, and two counts of sex abuse of a child, a second-degree felony, in February 2011.

Brown was sentenced to 10 years to life in prison, plus two concurrent terms of one to 15 years in prison by 4th District Judge David Mortensen. More than a year later, in November 2012, Brown filed a motion for a misplea, asking that his guilty pleas be set aside.

Brown argued that he had "suffered a severe and traumatic car accident" less than three days before entering his plea that left him "in no condition mentally, emotionally or physically" to sign the plea agreement or plead guilty in court, according to court documents. Mortensen denied the motion, stating that sentencing had already taken place and that Brown had six weeks between entering the plea and sentencing in which to attempt to withdraw the plea.

The judge also pointed out that he had asked Brown about any medication, drugs or alcohol and that the man "denied any consumption" of those things. The Utah Court of Appeals also ruled that Brown failed to file the motion to withdraw his plea prior to sentencing, as required by law. This left both the appellate court and district court without the ability to review the validity of the plea, the court found.

The 5 Browns are a classical piano-playing group consisting of five siblings — the three girls and their two brothers, Gregory and Ryan. They were the first group of five siblings to attend The Juilliard School in New York City.

The charges and plea deal were part of an agreement reached between prosecutors, Brown's attorney and Brown's three daughters — Desirae, Deondra and Melody. The sodomy and abuse incidents occurred when all of the girls were 13 or younger.

Prosecutors have said they were not isolated incidents and the abuse was ongoing between 1990 and 1998.

Brown had previously managed the 5 Browns but now has no connection as the children severed their professional relationship with their father in October of 2008.

The charges against Keith Brown came to light following a car accident involving the man and his wife, Lisa, just four days after the charges were filed. The couple was returning home from a dinner at Snowbird when their vehicle plummeted about 500 feet off the main road and into Little Cottonwood Creek. It took rescuers more than two hours to locate the Browns and carry them to waiting medical helicopters. Both were seriously injured, though Keith Brown was able to appear in court a few days later.

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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