Articles Posted in Murder

If you have been charged with first degree murder in the state of California, your future, your freedom, your everything hangs in the balance. You need to mount the strongest possible defense, and this requires the dedication of a skilled California criminal defense attorney. In order to convict you, the state will have to prove every element of the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt. The purpose of this article is to explain the elements of the charge of first degree murder in the state of California.

First Degree Murder is a Statutorily Created Crime

First degree murder is a criminal charge created by statute – a version of the more general charge of murder. The crime of murder dates back to the common law era in England and is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. First degree murder adds the elements of premeditation and deliberation to the longstanding definition of murder.  So then, first degree murder is a statutorily created crime in the state of California and is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought, premeditation, and deliberation.  Again, to convict, the state must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Unfortunately, there will always be people out there who are willing to sacrifice the life of someone else in order to obtain money; especially life insurance rewards. Toni Henthorn, a 50-year-old woman at the time, married to Harold Henthorn, 56, went on a vacation for their twelfth wedding anniversary to a scenic place called Deer Mountain, located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. Toni was excited and wanted to get as close to nature as possible for her photography, so the two went off the trail slightly and closer to the ledge in order to get the shot she was aiming for. The suddenly, Toni fell off of the ledge and tumbled face first down the side of the mountain; it took Harold fifteen minutes to find her body and remarkably she was still breathing. By the time the paramedics arrived, however, she was dead. The shocker? Toni was sitting on life insurance policies worth four and a half million dollars and the inheritor of all of her bank accounts was Harold. According to the coroner, homicide cannot be ruled out, which lead to the indictment of Harold Henthorn over two years after the incident occurred on September 29, 2012. He was taken into possession and charged with first degree murder for the death of his wife, Toni Henthorn. Eerily enough, Harold was married before he met Toni and his ex-wife died in what he called a “car accident”; the car crushing her to death during a tire change mishap. According to Toni’s relatives, Harold had always seemed like a shady, money obsessed guy who turned Toni into a shell of her former self in order to be with him.

“Woman Killed In National Park Had 4.5 Million Life Insurance” – UT San Diego

The man arrested on Friday said he was 34-year-old Marcelo Marquez of Salt Lake City when he was taken into custody, but his fingerprints matched biometric records of Monroy-Bracamonte in a federal database, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice said. He was first removed from the country in 1997 after a conviction for possession of drugs for sale in Arizona, then arrested and repatriated to Mexico again in 2001. Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones told The Sacramento Bee on Sunday that he may have lived under multiple identities and that he may have had troubles with the law under another name.

“We’re not convinced we have a full picture of his identity,” Jones told the newspaper. “Immigration has come up with one identity. We are not entirely convinced that is his only identity.”

Mauro Marquez, his father-in-law, told the Los Angeles Times that he always knew him as Luis Monroy and said his son-in-law worked as a house painter. He said the couple married about 14 years ago in Arizona and moved to Utah a couple of years later.

The public will soon become aware of what exactly the authorities claim the motive the man allegedly responsible for the triple murder that happened around Christmas had. The suspect, Carlo Mercado, had a court date originally set for October 20th of this year but was moved forward 7 weeks for reasons not released. The triple murder occurred on December 24, 2013, and all three victims were essentially family; two brothers and one brother’s fiancee. The two brothers, Salvatore and Gianni Belvedere, were ages 22 and 24 respectively and Salvatore’s fiancee Ilona Flint was also 22. When the story first hit the news, it was during Christmas Eve day after the engaged couple was found shot dead in their vehicle in the mall parking lot; the mall where Ilona Flint worked at Macy’s. When Gianni Belvedere, Salvatore’s brother, was nowhere to be found throughout the coverage of the mall shootings, it was presumed there was a love triangle in effect between the three. These rumors were dispelled immediately when the body of Gianni Belvedere was found in the trunk of a car in Riverside, 90 miles from the place of the first two murders. All the public knows so far as to how Carlo Mercado was involved is his supposed employment at the Target in the same shopping center as the Macy’s where Ilona Flint worked – attached to the parking lot in which two of the murders took place.

“San Diego Triple Murder: Motive May Finally Be Revealed As Suspect Faces Court Date” – Inquisitr

An interesting series of events leading up to a murder occurred last year around September 24, but the man at fault was just convicted of second degree murder on Friday. Jeret Thomas Needham, 43, started an altercation with a man he has just hired as a temporary assistant to help with wrestling coaching at Madison High School. The victim, Robert Colegrove, apparently refused to get out of a chair when Needham wanted him to and it drove him to ridiculous lengths; committing murder. After Colegrove wouldn’t get out of the chair, Needham exited the premises and on his way out was heard muttering over and over again “shouldn’t have done that.” Later in the day, he returned with a gun and camped out behind Colegrove’s backyard fence. According to Needham, Colegrove saw him behind the fence and was walking toward him with a knife saying “I’m going to kill you.” Needham fired his handgun and fatally shot Colegrove once in the heart. Needham, the former Madison High School wrestling coach, had his lawyers claiming it was self defense, but the jury didn’t quite buy it; they did, however, lower it to second degree murder verus first degree murder.

“Wrestling Coach Convicted Of Second-Degree Murder” – San Diego 6, The CW

A tragic shootout occurred in St. Louis last week when two men opened fire at each other in public streets. During the shootout, which happened just outside of an apartment complex in the 1900 block of Hodiamont Avenue, 46 year old Juliette Cleveland-Davis was walking with her three grandchildren when one of the bullets struck her in the middle of her chest; rendering her dead at the scene. Her three grandchildren, ages 4, 5 and 7, were fortunately unharmed, but sadly had to watch their own grandmother succumb to the violence. The two men responsible for the exchange of bullets are Errick Owens and Tommy Dora Jr., both being held without bond while they await trial. Owens, 20, who lives on the 7400 block of San Diego avenue in North St. Louis county, was the first one captured and charged; murder and armed criminal action. The second man, Tommy Dora Jr., resides on the 5900 block of Ridge Avenue and was captured Saturday evening and charged with the same crimes. The two men are also suspected to have been firing at a third person who has yet to be identified by authorities.

“Second Man Charged in Shooting of St. Louis Grandmother” – Post-Dispatch

On July 11, 2011, the body of Rebecca Zahau was found bound with ties and hanging from a balcony at Spreckels mansion in Coronado. A message was also left on the outside of the mansion in black paint reading “She saved him. Can you save her.” Before she died, her boyfriend’s 6-year-old son fell and suffered fatal injuries while she was the only one there to watch him. Because of the overwhelming guilt she must have suffered, police ruled her death as a suicide; not explaining any of the eerie aspects of the crime scene. Zahau’s family, however, didn’t buy it – a wrongful death lawsuit was opened in July of 2013. According to the family, the ten million dollar lawsuit is to prove her death was the result of homicide, even going so far as to list suspects. In the files of the lawsuit the family named Zahau’s boyfriend’s brother, her boyfriend’s ex, and the ex’s sister. They believe on the morning of July 13, 2011, the three defendants came together and conspired a plan and made an agreement to murder Rebecca Zahau. The day before the murder took place, the two females involved confronted Zahau about the little boys death; attacking her with a blunt object and rendering her unconscious, supporting their capabilities of violence. The family of Zahau is desperate to prove Zahau suffered a wrongful death and that she was not depressed, suicidal, nor did she blame herself for the little boy’s death.

“Amended Lawsuit: Rebecca Zahau Beaten, Strangled and Hung From A Balcony” – NBC 7 San Diego

CNN San Diego reported that things aren’t looking good for Tom Greer, an 80-year-old man who sealed his own fate when two individuals tried to rob him. The two burglars, later identified to be 26-year-old Gus Adams and 28-year-old Andrea Miller, broke into his home in Long Beach, CA. When Greer approached the pair of robbers – who were trying to get into his safe -they quickly began assaulting him. They threw the old man onto the ground, immediately fracturing his collarbone, but he wasn’t down for the count yet. While the thieves continued their effort to open the safe, Greer took advantage of their distraction and grabbed his .22 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver. The pair, Miller and Adams, ran out of the house as soon as they saw the elderly man was armed and packing some heat. You’d think a homeowner would be happy when they were able to drive criminals away and still have mostly everything in tact, but not Tom Greer. He followed them outside and everywhere they went, leading to a nearby alleyway – where he shot his .22 caliber at Miller; hitting her in the back. Adams had already ran off out if site, but Miller was in trouble. She was a bloody mess on the ground and when Greer approached her, she begged for her life and even claimed to be pregnant; he shot her anyway. Adams was later found and taken into custody on suspicion of murder for taking part in a crime leading to Miller’s death, and Greer is merely in custody awaiting charges. Speculation leans more towards Greer getting charged for second-degree murder because his actions weren’t premeditated but left the realm of self-defense.

“Sould 80-year-old Homeowner Be Charged With Murder?” – CNN San Diego

A few blog entries back I went into detail about a murder case under investigation that occurred on the Fourth of July. The body of a man in his 50’s was found outside near the street in a suburban neighborhood in Vista. Later, it was discovered the body belonged to Robert Evasick, and that his body was in fact residing on his own property. Shortly after, police began questioning the locals about the Evasick residence and were informed of another individual that resided on the premises; Alexander Wyman. Authorities instantly began searching for Wyman for questioning, but were unable to locate him. When the medical examiners determined Evasick’s death was a result of homicidal acts, a full blown manhunt ensued with authorities reaching out for information from the public through anonymous tips on Wyman’s location. Luckily, the search came to an end Friday as the L.A.P.D took Wyman into custody at 9 p.m. before handing him over to the detectives in San Diego who were originally investigating the case. Wyman will undergo serious questioning to determine his level of involvement in the death of Evasick, but as for right now he remains in the hands of the police.

“Man Arrested in Vista Murder Investigation” – Fox 5 San Diego

For most people, the Fourth of July holiday and the days following are full of good times and fond memories; but not all. On July 5, deputies went out to a location described in an anonymous call, where an injured man was spotted. When they arrived at the scene, 3600 block of Gopher Canyon road at around 3:30 p.m., the deputies were shocked to find the body of Rober Evasick. Evasick, 54, was pronounced dead at the scene, which so happened to be on his own property in front of his house. Authorities have yet to disclose all of the details, but have revealed that the victim’s injuries were indeed inflicted by another person – making this a homicide case.

According to the locals, there was another man who lived with Evasick — 37-year-old Alexander Wyman. Authorities have been searching for him to begin questioning for the investigation, but he is nowhere to be found as of today. If you or a friend know anything about Wyman or his location, you may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000. He is about 5’11” and weighs around 200 pounds, is a caucasian with blonde hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing dark colored shorts and a white Padres-logo t-shirt. If you think you can help, call the San Diego County Crime Stoppers.


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