LOS ANGELES -- Actor Marlon Brando's daughter, whose half-brother allegedly shot and killed her Tahitian boyfriend, has returned to the South Pacific island to avoid testifying against him, prosecutors said Monday.
Deputy District Attorney Steve Barshop said Cheyenne Brando left the United States soon after providing authorities with a new account of the May 16 slaying.
That account was given June 12. On June 14 and 15, police went to Marlon Brando's home to serve Cheyenne with a subpoena ordering her to appear in court to repeat her statements under oath. But police were thwarted when no one came to the door, Barshop said.
On the evening of the 15th, Cheyenne Brando flew to Tahiti and arrived there the next day, the prosecutor said.
Barshop would not reveal the contents of her June 12 statement, but he said that under Proposition 115, the so-called speedy trial initiative approved by voters in the June 5 election, he will try to introduce the statement as evidence at Christian Brando's preliminary hearing.
Still, Barshop will not be able to introduce the statement at Christian's Brando's trial unless Cheyenne Brando is present.
Barshop said it is doubtful that he will be able to extradite Cheyenne Brando to California. The United States has an extradition treaty with Tahiti through France, but it does not apply to material witnesses, he said.
Brando's defense lawyer, Robert L. Shapiro, said Cheyenne Brando's new account of the shooting contradicted her statements shortly after the slaying and is consistent in part with Christian Brando's claim that the shooting was an accident.
Barshop scoffed at that assessment of the new account.
In a related development Monday, Christian Brando's preliminary hearing was set for July 23 after a brief hearing in West Los Angeles Municipal Court.
Christian Brando, 32, allegedly shot and killed Dag Drollet, 26, in Marlon Brando's 12-room estate in the Hollywood Hills. Drollet, a Tahitian native, was the boyfriend of Cheyenne Brando.
Barshop earlier Monday said that attempts to strike a plea bargain, in which Christian Brando would plead guilty or no contest to lesser charges, have failed.
Barshop said he and Shapiro met last week to discuss a possible plea bargain, but that no deal was struck. But Shapiro said a plea bargain in the case is still a possibility.
Police said the shooting occurred after Christian Brando accused Drollet of beating Cheyenne. Prosecutors said that Drollet was shot in the back of the head while watching television.
Christian Brando has admitted shooting Drollet, but said it was an accident that occurred while he and Drollet were wrestling for the weapon, a .45-caliber handgun.
Along with murder, Christian Brando, who remains in custody without bail, is also charged with illegally possessing a machine gun and a silencer. He has pleaded innocent to all the charges.
If convicted of first-degree murder, he could be sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.