The former owner of a 16,000-square-foot mansion in Encinitas that neighbors called the "monster house" has been charged with stealing $1 million worth of fixtures, appliances and doors from the bank-foreclosed home.
But when Suzy Brown, the defendant, appeared in front of a Vista judge for her arraignment Tuesday, the strange case got even stranger: She refused to admit that she was, in fact, the defendants. The judge eventually handcuffed her in the middle of the proceedings and finally ordered her to jail.
Brown arrived at court without ID, demanded to see the charges against her and asked to represent herself -- while refusing to admit she was the defendant, according to the North County Times.
"Are you or are you not Suzanne Meredith Brown?" Judge Marshall Hockett asked Brown. "... You're playing games with the court."
Brown answered: "I'm genuinely not playing games."
When she asked repeatedly to see the charging documents against her, Hockett told her, "You're not running this court."
Soon after, the judge ordered deputies to handcuff Brown and put her in the area for defendants in custody.
Brown asked to represent herself but wouldn't complete the form required to do so, according to the paper, so she was appointed a public defender.
Eventually the judge ordered her booked into jail on $30,000 bail.
Investigators said Brown had returned most of the items removed from the house to the bank and kept in contact with detectives throughout their inquiry.
The home on Fortuna Ranch Road in Olivenhain was controversial from the beginning because many neighbors didn't want the massive structure built, the paper reported earlier this year. Brown's neighbors dubbed it the Monster House after the 15-bedroom villa began construction. The house fell into foreclosure in February and was vacant for about three weeks. In March, it was stripped of up to $1 million in imported fixtures, police said.
In April, Brown told the paper that she didn't know who stripped the structure but said she wasn't surprised by the turn of events.
Brown, who built the house in 2004, had planned to turn it into a "recovery house" for patients looking to escape the clutches of drugs and alcohol, but the city killed the plan after neighbors complained about the $13 million villa.
Read more about Tuesday's hearing in the full article in the North County Times.