Was James Brown Murdered? New Details About The Claim That He And His Third Wife Adrienne Were Both Killed

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Was James Brown Murdered? New Details Claim Third Wife Adrienne Killed

Over a dozen of James Brown's friends and family recently revealed that they believe foul play was involved in the soul singer and his wife's deaths.

In a three-part investigation published by CNN Tuesday, 13 people claim Brown was murdered, and they want his body exhumed for an autopsy.

Brown, widely known as the "Godfather of Soul," died on Dec. 25, 2006 of congestive heart failure that resulted from pneumonia complications, his death certificate states. But those close to him are not convinced.

The dive into his death began when CNN reporter Thomas Lake was contacted by 61-year-old Jacquelyn Hollander, a circus performer who was a part of Brown's inner circle, in 2017. Hollander claimed she could prove Brown and his third wife, Adrienne Brown, were murdered. Nearly two years later, the in-depth investigation was released.


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Among the almost 140 people interviewed was Dr. Marvin Crawford, the doctor who signed Brown's death certificate. Crawford treated Brown at a hospital in Atlanta prior to his death and has reason to believe he did not die of natural causes. Crawford seemed convinced that Brown died of an overdose, accidental or otherwise, and wanted an autopsy performed to prove it.

Brown was reportedly scheduled to be released from the hospital when his health took a sudden and deadly turn. His condition "changed too fast," Crawford said.

“He was a patient I would never have predicted would have coded," Crawford continued, referring to a medical term used to describe a patient in cardiopulmonary arrest. "But he died that night, and I did raise that question: what went wrong in that room?”

Andre Moses White, a friend of Brown who helped check him into the hospital before he died, said he was so suspicious of the singer's death that he took a vial of Brown's blood from an IV after his death, hoping it could be used one day to find the truth.


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Brown’s late daughter LaRhonda Pettit and son-in-law Darren Lumar, also alleged Brown was murdered prior to their own deaths. Lumar was killed in Atlanta in 2008, the same year he publicly alleged his father-in-law was murdered on TV, and his killing remains unsolved.

Many others said that Brown's personal manager changed the official story of his death multiple times, adding that it "didn't make sense" and was "always a little vague." His ever-changing official cause of death prompted them to have doubts about how Brown really passed.

Some even questioned if Brown's body is even in the crypt in his daughter Deanna Brown Thomas' yard.


The investigation also focused on the death of Adrienne Brown in 1996, whose cause of death is listed as an accidental overdose. CNN found evidence that Adrienne feared for her life in the months leading up to her death. A police informant also alleged that a doctor, who was not identified “because he has not been named as a suspect in Adrienne Brown’s death," murdered Adrienne and then made it look like she overdosed. The doctor denied the allegations to CNN.

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Hollander was a friend of Adrienne's and long believed she was not a victim of an accidental overdose. She told the haunting story of how Brown allegedly raped her in the back of his van in 1988, how he assaulted Adrienne on multiple occasions, even being arrested for attempting to murder her. She said they were both scared for their lives ever since. 

Brown had a number of people on his side that would do anything he asked, including gangster and police, Hollander said, addind that they both kept their mouths shut for their own safety., she added.

“If James Brown told me to say my mother is black and she had purple feet, I would have said my mother is black and she had purple feet,” Hollander said. “And I believe I am alive today because I did what I was told.” 

And so did Adrienne, right up until her death.

Brown's fourth wife, Tomirae, told the news outlet that Brown was convinced Adrienne was killed, too. Eventually, she began to fear for her own life, just as Brown's wife before her.


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Sarah Gangraw writes about all things news, entertainment and crime. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.