The Good Doctor

Michael Brown made it big in the hand clinic business. But as his wife discovered, there was a much darker side to this dynamic surgeon.

She says she had learned the way to stop the violence was "telling him I was sorry, that it was all my fault, 'I'll be better, you're right, I am a bitch.' All the times he would hit me, as long as I would say something like that he would stop."

Darlina says the Las Vegas incident finally opened her eyes.

"I became very depressed. I didn't see things getting better. Mike wasn't trying to get help [for his problems], and he didn't even acknowledge he had a problem."

Brown's TV ads show a devoted father with daughter Sophie.
Brown's TV ads show a devoted father with daughter Sophie.

The clincher came when she found her husband's brother-in-law changing the locks on the Woodlands house. Brown later explained to her that he wanted new deadbolt locks for which only he would have the key. According to her, the exchange provoked Brown into punching her. The brother-in-law helped pull him off, Darlina testified, and she fled with Sophie.

Yet she went back to her husband again after he repeatedly called her, apologized and promised it would never happen again.

Her rationale indicates classic battered wife syndrome.

"When you're in that kind of situation, it's hard to explain to someone who hasn't been there, but I was there and I believed everything he said. It's crazy, now that I'm out of it and looking back," Darlina tries to explain. "It's not that I'm naive or stupid; he just had so much control over me that I believed him."

Whatever the reasoning, the marriage roared toward a violent conclusion on a late night in January 2001.

Darlina testified Brown came home after visiting a Rick's topless club in the area. He later offered the novel explanation that he'd run out of good wine at his home and went to Rick's to get some. Even though she was seven months pregnant with their second daughter, the physician began slugging her in the face and clubbed her with a post he'd ripped off a bed, she says.

This time, her usual tactic of saying, "You're right, honey, I am a bitch," didn't help.

Darlina would later tell deputies that the doctor dragged her downstairs by her hair, pulling out clumps along the way. Tufts of hair were later recovered from the bedroom.

After he shoved her onto a dining room coffee table, Darlina told deputies, she managed to break free and flee upstairs. She locked herself in her nanny's bedroom, she says, as Brown pursued her and fired several shots through the door. Between holding down the inner knob of the door to keep her husband at bay and making frantic calls to 911, Darlina says, she prayed for her life and that of her unborn child.

Brown would deny that he had beat his wife, and claimed she was the aggressor who attacked him with the strength of a "wild woman" and tried to shoot him. In his scenario, the doctor repeatedly wrestled the gun away from his wife after she fired the shots.

"The bedpost broke," Brown told Tommy Fibich, Darlina's lawyer. "I dropped the bedpost, turned around. She says, 'I'm going to kill you, you son of a bitch. I'm going to kill you, you motherfucker.' "

Brown claims he struck her in self-defense but she kept grabbing the gun from him. "The same thing happens again and again, about six times through the house, with her crashing into furniture."

The sequence was hard to reconcile with some of the evidence. Darlina had called police from inside the bedroom, and the shots had been fired from outside it. And then there was the series of recorded 911 calls with Mrs. Brown's terrorized voice pleading for help.

Darlina says he left only after she shouted through the door that she'd summoned police. Montgomery County deputies arrested Brown at a nearby shopping center parking lot. He smelled of alcohol and was out of control, according to the officers. Inside his vehicle, they found a cache of guns and illegal knives.

Darlina was delivered by ambulance to a hospital.

"My daughter didn't even look like my daughter," says Linda Muras of Darlina. "It was awful what he did to her. It's unspeakable, especially her being pregnant. It's a wonder she didn't lose the baby."

After spending most of the next month in bed, Darlina gave birth prematurely to Layla. So far, the rocky entry into the world has had no visible effect on the ten-month-old child.

The baby's father, released on $50,000 bail, was indicted for aggravated assault. He left for a monthlong stay at the Sierra psychiatric and substance abuse rehab center in Tucson, Arizona.

The surgeon had amassed several experts to help him with his mounting legal problems. They included attorneys Rocket Rosen, Earle Lilly and Michael Sharp and psychiatrist George Glass, who had treated Brown.

And one order of business, even from the Sierra rehab center, was a lengthy letter from the doctor to what he termed his "dream team." Brown thanked Rosen for springing him from jail a day early. Glass was lauded "as the cornerstone and conduit for translating my experience here to something beneficial to me legally and medically."

Brown's letter acknowledges "intense shame, guilt, sadness, and hurt for my actions leading up to and including what I did to my wife who I dearly love and still do.

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Actually Brown's first wife was Diane Christine Bates according to the Harris County Clerks office which he married in 1978 which like his others marriages didn't last long wonder why?

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