Articles Posted in Murder

James Detory Shipp, Jr. was found guilty of murdering a woman in 1998 who tried to stop him from sexually assaulting one of her co-workers. Shipp was a former football player and aspiring Boxer who claims that he had neurological problems and faced domestic violence while growing up that changed him. Between 1997 and 2001, Shipp had also raped 5 women and had kidnapping and robbery charges on his record. For the murder/rape he received life in prison and for the crimes between 1997 and 2001, he faces 119 years and another life term.

Sometimes troubled pasts make people want to turn to crime. Here, Shipp witnessed domestic violence, associated with gangs and had neurological problems. These experiences all affected him adversely and caused him to commit these heinous crimes. For his actions, Shipp will spend the rest of his life in prison, contemplating what he did. He received so much time in prison so that it could never be a possibility that he be released. If you are charged with murder or rape, call an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you.

Continue reading →

On Thursday of last week, an Orange County judge ordered Brian Benedict to pay more in child support for his son. He was very angered by the $500 increase in child support he had to pay. On Sunday, Rebecca Benedict, Brian’s ex-wife, went to go pick up her 4-year-old son from Brian’s on-campus apartment at University of California, Irvine as Brian’s weekend custody had terminated. The couple argued before he gave her the child. As Rebecca was leaving, Brian Benedict walked up behind Rebecca and shot her in the head, near their son. She fell to the ground and after being taken to the hospital, was pronounced dead. Police and campus security immediately detained Brian on suspicion of murder.

In his past, Brian studied at the U.S. Naval Academy and when he graduated, he was assigned to U.S. Air Force Space Command. After the Air Force he went to UCI to earn his graduate degree in physics. There, he met Rebecca and they were married soon after. In October of 2004, the couple had a soon together but in 2006, the couple split.

It was assumed that the bitter divorce and custody dispute along with the child support issues affected Brian so much that he acted on rage and anger when he committed this heinous crime. He will now be charged with the murder of his ex-wife. If convicted, he will likely face years in prison.

Whether you live in Tustin, Laguna Hills or Brea, if you are charged with murder, call an experienced attorney to assist you.

Continue reading →

Cesar Gomez is charged with murder with special circumstances for the alleged killing of Ashley Lilly, a prostitute. Lilly had posted on Myspace that she would be at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Anaheim and would offer her services to people that contacted her. Around August 20, 2009, Gomez went into Lilly’s room and beat her face and body and then strangled her. He ransacked her hotel room and stole personal items. On August 21, hotel staff found her dead in her room. Through DNA evidence, Gomez was suspected and arrested for the murder. Gomez had a prior strike on his record for a 1993 murder conviction. If convicted of this murder, he will face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Gomez did not sexually assault Lilly and seemed interested only in murderher personal belongings. The District Attorney will allege that this crime was for the benefit of a criminal street gang and committed this crime for the benefit of the gang. If it is proven that Gomez did this for the benefit of the gang, his sentence will be enhanced significantly.

There is a split among the courts as to whether the DA has to prove that the crime was for the benefit of the gang. The basic gang statute in California, Penal Code section 186.22 says “Any person who actively participates in any criminal street gang with knowledge that its members engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity, and who willfully promotes, furthers, or assists in any felonious criminal conduct by members of
that gang, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or two or three years.” Gomez’s lawyer will likely argue that he did this crime due to personal reasons (robbery) and that it had nothing to do with promoting the gang or making people afraid of the gang.

Whether you live in Santa Ana, Fullerton or Huntington Beach, if you are charged with murder, assault or prostitution, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you.

Continue reading →

In 2006, Gideon Walter Omondi walked into a Fullerton police station and told officers that he drowned his son in a bath tub. Officers rushed to Omondi’s house and found the 4-year-old’s body lying on his father’s bed. He was in the middle of a bitter custody battle with his ex-wife and claimed he went crazy. Nine months prior to the murder, Omondi allegedly tried to kill his son by dousing his car with gasoline and putting himself and his son in the car. Police arrived before Omondi could light the car on fire.

Omondi was indicted on charges of murder and attempted murder for the two incidents. He pled not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. His trial starts this week and is expected to take about 15 days. If the jury finds him guilty, they have to then decide if he is insane. Most people may not know it, but pleading insane does not free you from criminal liability. Being found insane is a legal, not medical, term that means that a person should be locked up in a mental institution because they are a harm to themselves or others. The time they will be in the institution for is roughly the amount of time they would have to spend in prison if they were guilty.

Whether you live in Brea, San Juan Capistrano or Laguna Beach, if you are charged with murder, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney right away to defend you in court.

Continue reading →

Manuel Gonzalez Melgoza was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison for the execution-style murder of Israel Quiros. Melgoza worked at a landscaping company in 2006. He then got demoted and ultimately fired. Quiros was hired to replace Melgoza and he was so upset that he shot Quiros in the shoulder twice and then put the gun to the back of Quiros’ head and fired.

The defense argued that Quiros was actually following and harassing Melgoza so Melgoza shot Quiros in self defense. The jury found Melgoza guilty though, for first degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for using a gun.

This is a horrific crime and is not a way to solve jealousy issues, however, these days, jobs are very hard to come by and it is likely that Melgoza was upset with the loss of his job and unpaid bills and felt that this was a way to get back at the company.

If you are charged with a murder in Orange County, Los Angeles County or Riverside County, call an experienced California defense attorney to assist you with your case.

Continue reading →

Last week in Buena Park, the body of a missing woman was found stuffed in a suitcase in a trash bin. The body was later identified as that of a swimsuit model named Jasmine Fiore. The woman’s neck was strangled and she was missing teeth and fingers. A suspect from the beginning of the investigation was her husband, Ryan Alexander Jenkins. Jenkins, a former reality TV star, went missing soon after the body was found. Police think he is hiding in his hometown in Canada.

Jenkins and Fiore met in Vegas earlier this year and only knew each other for a few days before deciding to get married. Their relationship was rocky however. Jenkins was arrested in April for allegedly hitting Fiore. He was charged with domestic violence.

Even though it seems that Jenkins would be the most likely suspect, a good defense attorney would properly investigate the crime scene and all possible suspects. Jenkins could have an alibi that would prove that he could not have committed the crime. There could be DNA evidence of someone else on the victim’s body. An experienced attorney would investigate these things to ensure the defendant is not wrongfully accused.

Whether you live in Mission Viejo, Garden Grove or Huntington Beach, if you are charged with murder, you need an experienced Orange County Criminal Defense attorney on your side.

Continue reading →

After 13-year-old Minh Cong Tran and his family finished eating at a Mexican restaurant in Santa Ana in 2003, they drove away. Jason A. Aguirre, 33, and fellow Dragon Family Junior gang members chased the family into a neighborhood and shot into the car as the family tried to hide. Minh Tran was shot in the heart, liver and shoulder and died soon after the shooting. Other family members in the car were shot, but they all survived. Aguirre fled the scene of the crime and was arrested a few months later. Aguirre was charged with first degree murder with special circumstances of committing the murder for the benefit of the gang. He was sentenced to death last week for his crimes.

This was the fifth death penalty case in Orange County this week. The death penalty can be a punishment only in murder cases that have special circumstances. Murdering for the benefit of a gang is a special circumstance. Other special circumstances include mass murders and felony murders. If you have been charged with murder in Irvine, Santa Ana or Fullerton, you will need an experienced Orange County defense attorney to assist you in the legal process.

Continue reading →

Terry Snyder pleaded guilty to murdering his estranged wife on Easter of 2007 because she had planned an Easter egg hunt for their children. Terry Snyder and Yolanda Snyder were living separately and were switching off having the kids. Terry was upset that Yolanda had the kids over Easter because he wanted to have them on Easter. He got so mad that he bludgeoned his wife to death in front of their three young children. The children ran out of the house and to their neighbor’s house to get help. Terry claims he pled guilty because he did not want to make his children testify against him in court. He is now facing 15 years to life for his actions.

Clearly Terry Snyder has anger problems. Anger management is a useful technique for people who have severe anger problems. Anger management is a system of psychological techniques that can help reduce the triggers and effects of anger. In some cases, the court may require a person to take anger classes to prevent future problems. Regardless if you live in Garden Grove, Santa Ana or Fullerton, severe anger problems can lead to serious consequences.

Continue reading →

In Santa Ana Superior Court today, a complaint was filed against Andrew Urdiales for the alleged murder of 5 Southern California women. Between the years of 1986 and 1995, Urdiales was said to have murdered Robbin Brandley, a Saddleback College student, and four prostitutes: Julie McGhee, Maryann Wells, Tammie Erwin and Denise Maney. He confessed to these killings in 1997, after being arrested for killing two Illinois women. In 2002, Urdiales was convicted of two counts of murder in Illinois and was sentenced to death, however, this punishment was reduced to life in prison by a former Illinois governor. In 2004, Urdiales was convicted of murdering another Illinois women and was sentenced to death once again. Urdiales is currently appealing his death sentence in Illinois. Orange County prosecutors are still deciding if they want to pursue the death penalty against Urdiales for the 5 alleged murders he committed in California.

A serial killer is a person who murders 3 or more people over a long period of time with a cooling off period between murders. There is often a psychological gratification behind the murders. Notable United States serial killers include Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer and David Berkowitz.

Continue reading →

An eighteen-year-old Santa Ana gang member, Eduardo Valencia, is being charged with the murder of Jaime Anica Olvera. Allegedly, Valencia tried to rob Olvera during the evening of July 23. Olvera was struggling to fight back, when a second gang member, Fabian Vargas Vega, pulled out a gun and shot Olvera in the upper body. Olvera died immediately at the scene. Vega was killed by police in a gun battle soon after the incident. Valencia fled the scene of the crime and was found hiding in a relative’s garage on Saturday. He is facing charges of murder, attempted robbery, felony street terrorism charges and a sentencing enhancement for allegedly carrying out the murder for the purpose of his street gang.

A criminal street gang is defined as any organization, association or group of 3 or more persons which has 1) continuity of purpose 2) seeks a group identity, and 3) has members who individually or collectively have engaged in criminal activity. Often times, when a gang member commits a crime for himself, the district attorney will want to say he committed the crime for the benefit of a street gang and slap on additional charges and penalties. A good attorney would try and prove that the defendant did not commit the crime in furtherance of the gang and therefore the gang enhancements should be dropped. There are gangs in Irvine, Garden Grove, Westminster and almost every other city in Orange County. If you are charged with gang crimes, the state of California will be very tough on you and you will need an experienced gang attorney on your side.

Continue reading →