Despite an emotional apology and plea for mercy from his legendary actor-father, Marlon Brando's son, Christian, received a stiff 10-year prison sentence for killing his half-sister's lover.
Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Robert Thomas sentenced Brando to six years for his guilty plea to voluntary manslaughter, and gave him four years under a recent state law requiring additional prison time for people convicted of using a gun in the commission of a crime.Brando will get credit for 135 days served before he made bail and will be eligible for parole in a little less than five years.
Brando, 32, an admitted alcoholic and mostly itinerant welder, admitted shooting Dag Drollet, 26, a member of a politically prominent family in Tahiti, where he met Cheyenne Brando. But despite telling police shortly after the shooting that he hated Drollet, Brando claimed it was an accident that happened when he and Drollet were struggling over a gun.
Cheyenne, then pregnant with Drollet's baby and now under a doctor's care following two suicide attempts in Tahiti, told police the shooting was no accident and that Christian had murdered Drollet.
Prosecutors charged Brando with first-degree murder, but agreed to reduce the charge when it became apparent that Cheyenne, their key witness, would not be returned to California to testify.
The Drollets and Brandos had been friends in Tahiti, but despite Marlon Brando's emotional appeal Thursday for a reconciliation for the sake of Cheyenne's baby son, the Drollets remain bitter.
Father Jacques Drollet, who asked the judge for the maximum sentence, later said Brando had "gotten away with murder," and Drollet's mother called him "evil."
Marlon Brando, an Oscar winner who normally is an extremely reclusive man, took the stand in a suit and pony tail, delivering his apology and appeal to the Drollets in French.
Jacque Drollet thought it was quite a performance.
"I felt very confused because you never know with Marlon whether he's sincere and when he's acting. I think he was acting," Drollet said. He said of Christian Brando, "I have no pity for him."
Prosecutor Steven Barshop said he thought the sentence "is reasonable under the circumstances."
Defense attorney Robert Shapiro said after speaking with Christian following the sentencing, "He is pleased the matter is over. He wanted it resolved as quickly as possible. He wants to pay his debt to society. "
During his testimony Thursday, the legendary actor appeared to fight back tears as he made often rambling statements about his oldest son's troubled childhood.
Brando said his son had been an emotional "basket case" since childhood and his life had been ill-starred since conception.