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Murder Case

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NEWS
January 6, 2011
A Dana Point man pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges Thursday in connection with a fatal stabbing outside the Orange County/Costa Mesa Hilton hotel early New Year's Day. Adam Randy Baker, 23, faces 23 years to life in prison if convicted. Prosecutors added sentencing enhancements to both charges for Baker allegedly using a knife during the attack. About 2 a.m. Jan. 1, Baker was sitting outside the NYE OC celebration at the hotel. As partygoers left, prosecutors said Baker flicked a cigarette at a group of men, then pushed and attacked one of them with a knife.
NEWS
By Britney Barnes | October 28, 2010
An confrontation that ended in with a deadly shooting in Huntington Beach on Oct. 22 first started in Newport Beach over a girlfriend, according to prosecutors. Derek Christopher Adams, 22, and Marissa Star Bilotti, 19, both of Huntington Beach, are charged with murder for allegedly killing Garden Grove resident Gregory Ryan Heintz, 35, on Oct. 22. The two broke down the door of Newport Beach resident Cody Masher to confront him and his girlfriend, who Adams was romantically interested in, according to the distinct attorney's office.
NEWS
June 13, 2011
Editor's note: This corrects the second to last paragraph. The trial of a Ladera Ranch woman and her former boyfriend accused of killing a wealthy Newport Beach man was split into two trials Monday, according to Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy. Nanette Johnston Packard, 45, and Eric Andrew Naposki, 44, are accused of plotting to kill Bill McLaughlin in 1994. Murphy said he couldn't discuss why the trials were separated. Almost 20 years ago, McLaughlin responded to Packard's singles advertisement asking for a companion who could provide for her financially.
NEWS
March 12, 2012
Closing a nearly 24-year-old cold case, an Orange County jury on Monday convicted a man of raping and killing a pregnant newlywed in Costa Mesa, prosecutors said. The jury found that Jason Michael Balcom, 41, sexually assaulted and then stabbed 22-year-old Malinda Gibbons in her Costa Mesa apartment in July 1988. Balcom had been serving time in Michigan for another rape when authorities linked him to the murder. The night of the slaying, Balcom entered the apartment Gibbons shared with her new husband, Kent.
NEWS
By Britney Barnes | January 19, 2012
SANTA ANA — Jury deliberations began Thursday in the case of a woman accused of conspiring with her lover to kill her wealthy boyfriend. The majority-female Orange County Superior Court jury began meeting just before 3 p.m., as attorneys finished their closing arguments in the trial of Nanette Packard-McNeal. Packard-McNeal, 46, is accused of conspiring with former NFL linebacker Eric Naposki to murder Newport Beach businessman Bill McLaughlin in December 1994. Naposki was found guilty over the summer of murdering McLaughlin, 55. Packard-McNeal's defense attorney, Mick Hill, told the court that she wasn't involved in McLaughlin's murder, and that her actions after the murder are the antithesis of someone involved in a plot to kill.
NEWS
March 9, 2000
Tom Titus Truth may very well be stranger than fiction, but when both are intertwined and mingled with shifting time periods, the result can be quite strange indeed. Don Nigro's "Tainted Justice," now on stage at OCC's Drama Lab Theater, is such an entity. Based on an actual 1913 murder case in Nova Scotia that was never fully resolved, the play segues in and out of chronological order, often with actors from both past and present sharing the stage.
NEWS
January 18, 2001
Deepa Bharath SANTA ANA -- A Superior Court judge will decide today whether to dismiss the Eric Bechler murder case. In a surprise move Wednesday afternoon, Bechler's defense attorney, John Barnett, submitted a brief asking the court to throw out the case based on the argument that the prosecution had not provided any evidence to prove the crime was committed in California. Prosecutors have charged Bechler with killing his 38-year-old wife, Pegye, by hitting her on the head and dumping her body in the Pacific Ocean during a boating trip off the coast of Newport Beach in 1997.
NEWS
May 12, 2004
Jury deliberates in 1979 murder case Attorneys began closing statements in the trial of James Lee Crummel, who is accused of murdering a 13-year-old boy who disappeared 25 years ago while walking to his Costa Mesa school. The 60-year-old man, already serving a life sentence for sexually abusing a teenager in his Newport Crest condo, will face the death penalty if found guilty of murdering Jamey Trotter. Prosecutors say they have shown evidence of Crummel's long history of pedophilia.
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NEWS
April 2, 2014
The city of Costa Mesa is offering a $10,000 reward for information on a 2012 murder case. The City Council on Tuesday authorized the reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for killing 50-year-old Costa Mesa resident Gary Smola. Police found Smola dead in his home in the 1700 block of Whittier Avenue on the afternoon of Aug. 4, 2012. According to the coroner, he died of blunt-force trauma to the head. Police said an unknown weapon was likely used to kill Smola.
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NEWS
By Adolfo Flores | November 8, 2013
As a woman on the witness stand described how she was attacked in a violent rampage that left her husband and daughter dead, the man accused of the crimes erupted in anger in an Orange County courtroom Thursday. "That's not what happened," Iftekhar Murtaza said, loudly enough to interrupt Leela Dhanak's testimony in the 2007 double-murder case. Murtaza, 29, is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend's father, Jayprakash Dhanak, 56, and sister, Karishma Dhanak, 20, and attempting to kill Dhanak before setting fire to their Anaheim Hills mansion in 2007.
NEWS
By Anthony Clark Carpio | August 9, 2013
A Fountain Valley man was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his part in the 1995 death of a fellow Vietnamese street gang member. Giang Thuy Nguyen, 37, had been found guilty April 10, 2012, of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. A sentencing enhancement of murder to avoid arrest was found to be true, according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office. Co-defendants Anthony Paul Johnson, 37, of Westminster, Tam Hung Nguyen, 47, of Riverside, and Truc Ngoc Tran, 36, of Santa Ana, were previously sentenced to life in prison without the possibly of parole on the same charges.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 13, 2013
Murder in Thrall By Anne Cleeland Kensington Books ; 282 pages What a bleak existence it must be to work as a detective - day after day amid forensics, fingerprints and hysterical witness statements, under deadlines that change at the drop of a hat. It's a job that must lure do-gooders but also a few misfits and loners. When we think of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe, do his drink and cigarette linger more in our memory than the actual cases he solved? "Murder in Thrall," the first installment in a mystery series by Anne Cleeland, stars a pair of Scotland Yard detectives who seem to occupy their own odd corners of the world.
NEWS
March 12, 2012
Closing a nearly 24-year-old cold case, an Orange County jury on Monday convicted a man of raping and killing a pregnant newlywed in Costa Mesa, prosecutors said. The jury found that Jason Michael Balcom, 41, sexually assaulted and then stabbed 22-year-old Malinda Gibbons in her Costa Mesa apartment in July 1988. Balcom had been serving time in Michigan for another rape when authorities linked him to the murder. The night of the slaying, Balcom entered the apartment Gibbons shared with her new husband, Kent.
NEWS
By Lauren Williams | February 24, 2012
Prosecutors on Friday announced charges against two people suspected of being accessories after the fact in a complicated double-murder case that rattled a Costa Mesa apartment complex in May 2010. The suspects were arrested and charged in connection with the murder of Samuel Herr, 26, of Costa Mesa and Herr's friend, Irvine resident Juri "Julie" Kibuishi, 23. Police, however, have declined to publicly name the new suspects or describe their alleged roles in the case. "The release of more information at this stage of the ongoing investigation may compromise witnesses and/or may jeopardize the possible arrest of any additionally involved persons," Costa Mesa police Lt. Tim Schennum wrote in an email.
NEWS
By Britney Barnes | January 19, 2012
SANTA ANA — Jury deliberations began Thursday in the case of a woman accused of conspiring with her lover to kill her wealthy boyfriend. The majority-female Orange County Superior Court jury began meeting just before 3 p.m., as attorneys finished their closing arguments in the trial of Nanette Packard-McNeal. Packard-McNeal, 46, is accused of conspiring with former NFL linebacker Eric Naposki to murder Newport Beach businessman Bill McLaughlin in December 1994. Naposki was found guilty over the summer of murdering McLaughlin, 55. Packard-McNeal's defense attorney, Mick Hill, told the court that she wasn't involved in McLaughlin's murder, and that her actions after the murder are the antithesis of someone involved in a plot to kill.
NEWS
By Lauren Williams | December 9, 2011
NEWPORT BEACH — The Costa Mesa man charged with two murders and a handful of sentencing enhancements in a grisly killing last year has yet to have a preliminary hearing, but has been in custody for a year and six months. A judge Friday said that the case against Daniel Patrick Wozniak, 27, needed to progress with a hearing that would show if there is substantial evidence for Wozniak to stand trial for allegedly killing his neighbor, Samuel Herr, 26, and Juri "Julie" Kibuishi, 23. Family members and Wozniak nodded their heads in response to the judge's stern lecture about moving the case forward.
NEWS
June 13, 2011
Editor's note: This corrects the second to last paragraph. The trial of a Ladera Ranch woman and her former boyfriend accused of killing a wealthy Newport Beach man was split into two trials Monday, according to Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy. Nanette Johnston Packard, 45, and Eric Andrew Naposki, 44, are accused of plotting to kill Bill McLaughlin in 1994. Murphy said he couldn't discuss why the trials were separated. Almost 20 years ago, McLaughlin responded to Packard's singles advertisement asking for a companion who could provide for her financially.
NEWS
By Alexandra Baird, abaird.dailypilot@gmail.com | March 26, 2011
A Costa Mesa man and his brother on Friday pleaded not guilty to murder after DNA evidence linked them to a woman's body found in Irvine that was burned beyond recognition. Gabino Baldivia-Guzman, 32, and his brother Zenaido Baldivia-Guzman, 25, of Santa Ana, were charged with murdering a woman in September 2009. At Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach, they pleaded not guilty to the special-circumstances charge of murder during commission of a kidnapping. Irvine police Lt. Barry Aninag told the Daily Pilot last November that Gabino Baldivia-Guzman was driving his van through Santa Ana when he picked up a prostitute.
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