A seemingly simple misdemeanor case like the one brought by the
district attorney against Newport Beach's bad boy, Dennis Rodman, for
noise code violation dragged on for five months without as much as a
On the other hand, a much more serious and complex case -- the murder
trial involving Steven Allen Abrams, who killed two Costa Mesa children
by driving his car through their preschool playground -- was resolved in
about a year and a half after the incident happened.
Abrams was charged with the murders in May 1999. The trial crossed
three phases and ended in September 2000 as the jury declared him guilty,
sane when he committed the crimes and handed him a penalty of life in
prison without the possibility of parole.
Also seemingly expedited was another murder case involving Eric
Bechler, the father of three from Newport Heights who was found guilty of
bludgeoning to death his millionaire wife, Pegye Bechler, during a
boating trip off the coast of Newport Beach four years ago.
Pegye Bechler's body was never found. But that did not stop a jury
from finding him guilty of the crime in about a year after he was
arrested. It took the police about two years to gather necessary evidence
to arrest Bechler, but the legal process was a lot shorter. The case is
in the appeal process now.
But not all cases move fast and they probably should not, said Newport
Beach attorney Ron Cordova, who is defending Costa Mesa City Councilman
Chris Steel in his pending perjury case.
The Orange County district attorney filed two felony charges against
Steel stating that he allowed resident Richard Noack to sign election
nomination papers for his wife during the 2000 election, and also
permitted himself to sign for Alice Billioux, a legally blind woman,
during the 1998 election.
Prosecutors allege Steel committed perjury by certifying all
signatures as genuine when he knew they were not exactly signed by the
people who nominated him.
Those charges were filed more than five months ago, but the case has
taken several complex and unexpected turns.
A Superior Court Judge in July threw out a civil lawsuit brought