Debra Brown's family is playing something of a waiting game on when she'll actually walk through the prison gates.
In the first case to go to trial under Utah's three-year-old Factual Innocence statute, Ogden 2nd District Judge Mike DiReda ruled May 2 that Brown did not commit the murder for which she's spent almost 16 years in prison.
But he stayed the ruling for a week to let the Utah Attorney General's Office consider an appeal. The week is up at 2:30 p.m. Monday.
And, unless advised otherwise, Brown's family will descend on the Timpanogos women's facility at the Utah State Prison in Draper. Family members from as far north as Twin Falls, Idaho, will be making the drive to Draper.
"We won't believe it's happened until we walk out with her," said Brown's daughter, Alana Williams, 29, of Logan. "It's like a movie. It's like a dream. We want to see how it ends."
While it's possible Brown's release could be postponed, Williams said the family has been advised by the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center that even if there is an appeal, Brown will likely be let out.
The center spent eight years developing the lawsuit that appears to have freed her mother
So Monday the entourage heading to Timpanogos will include Williams, her husband and their two young children; brother Josh Whitney, 30, of Logan, and his wife; older brother Ryan Buttars, 35, Rigby, Idaho, his wife and five children; and Brown's brother Dave Scott, Twin Falls, wife and their two children, who will have Brown move in with them.
"It would be awesome if she got out for Mother's Day," said Michele Carlile, of Ogden, Williams' stepmother who helped raise her while Brown languished in prison. "Every member of the family has something different planned that they want to do with her when she gets out."
One scenario officials say could unfold is the Attorney General's office advising DiReda over the weekend that no appeal is forthcoming. The stay could then be lifted and Brown released.
But another possibility is a hearing before DiReda at 2:30 p.m. Monday.
Alan Sullivan and the other innocence center lawyers would argue for Brown's release if the attorney general appeals and seeks to hold Brown in prison pending the appeal.
Paul Murphy, attorney general spokesman, at 4 p.m. Friday said no decision had been made on the appeal. "They said they would let me know but did not give me a time," he said. "This is the first time (for the Factual Innocence statute). So they want to do it right."
He's been fielding a number of calls from media wondering where to be Monday -- at the prison or in DiReda's courtroom.
The Utah State Prison is moving forward on the premise Brown is free to go 2:30 p.m, Monday, said Steve Gehrke, prison spokesman. That's what is in the court documents forwarded to the prison, Gehrke said, including DeRida's "Decision and Order on Post-conviction Determination of Factual Innocence" plus the stay.
Brown's release won't be the movie version, the inmate handed an envelope with the belongings they came in with, Gehrke said. Those are in storage and will be mailed out, he said, and family members have been advised to bring Brown a change of clothing.
Williams went shopping last week.
"I picked out a couple outfits, to give her something to choose from," she said. Her mother wrote that she would just wear her exercise clothes to pass the prison gates.
"I told her you are not wearing your sweats out," Williams said. "But that's her, no flashy prima donna stuff."
Still to come is the financial compensation the Factual Innocence statute assigns exonerated inmates.
At about $35,000 a year, Brown is owed around $500,000.
Gehrke said he talked to Brown the day after DiReda's ruling came out. She asked how she could avoid the swarm of media he advised her would be staking out the Timpanogos parking lot.
He had to advise her the prison had no control over that. "She just kinda wanted to go quietly, duck out and get on with her life."
Brown, 53, has been in prison since her 1995 conviction for the shooting death of her employer and close friend, Lael Brown, no relation, in Logan.
The innocence trial, held in January, was moved to Ogden last year when Logan judges recused themselves.
Lael Brown was shot three times in the head at close range. At her 1995 trial, a jury found Brown guilty of the 7 a.m. shooting on Nov. 6, 1993 -- 7 a.m. the only time that day for which Brown had no alibi.
In his ruling, DiReda cited the testimony of two men the innocence center found who saw Lael Brown alive later that same day.
The innocence trial featured criticism of a sloppy police investigation that included removing Brown's body before the lead detective could examine the crime scene. A second suspect, now deceased, who implicated himself in the killing to friends was never interviewed by police or Brown's trial lawyers.