The two stabbing victims who were discovered last week after an attack partially captured on Zoom were identified as a California college administrator and her brother.

Robert Cotton faces two counts of murder in the deaths of his mother, Pasadena City College staff member Carol Anne Brown, and his uncle, Kenneth Wayne Preston, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The college said in Facebook post that Brown was on a “remote conference call with other college employees” when the incident happened. However, no one saw the stabbings of Preston, 69, and Brown, 67, at their home in Altadena, about 15 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, authorities said.

Deputies responded to the residence in the 3100 block of North Marengo Avenue about 2:45 p.m. March 22 after a 911 caller witnessed a man dragging another man into the living room, the sheriff’s department said. Officers found the bodies of Preston, who had been stabbed multiple times, in the driveway, and Brown inside the home, the release said.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said the case is “horrific.”

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officers at the scene of a stabbing in Altadena, March 22, 2021.NBC4

Investigators learned a vehicle belonging to one of the victims was missing from the residence. At some point, Cotton, 32, who lived at the home, returned to the scene with the missing vehicle and was detained, according to the sheriff’s department.

Cotton was eventually booked on murder charges, authorities said. A motive for the stabbing was unclear. He is being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in lieu of $2 million bond, according to NBC Los Angeles.

In the Facebook post, Pasadena City College President Erika Endrijonas wrote: “Yesterday afternoon our PCC family suffered a terrible loss. Dr. Carol Brown, who most recently served as a co-coordinator of the Black STEM program, was the victim of a violent crime where she and her brother lost their lives.”

She added that counseling services and resources would be made available to students and staff members who were grieving her death.

The DA’s office did not offer details on a motive for the stabbing and said the investigation by the sheriff’s department was ongoing.

Cotton was scheduled to be arraigned Monday, but the hearing was continued until April 5. It was unclear if he had an attorney.

Wilson Wong

Wilson Wong is a breaking news reporter with NBC News. 


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