[UPDATED with Charges, New Details:] Christian Marie Murray, OC Homicide No. 24: Thomas Michael Wilhelm Held in Girlfriend's Slaying

Categories: 2012 Homicides
See Update No. 4 at the end of this post detailing the charges against Thomas Michael Wilhelm, which include the allegation he stole the murder weapon from a neighbor.

See Update No. 3 identifying the victim as Christian Marie Murray and providing her business profile.

See Update No 2 providing
more details on the business dispute between Wilhelm and Murray.

See Update No. 1 identifying Wilhelm as the suspected murderer of his live-in girlfriend Murray.

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ORIGINAL POST, JULY 9, 8:28 A.M.: Costa Mesa Police received a call around 6:24 p.m. about a man with a gun inside a home in the 2900 block of Redwood Avenue.

Shortly after officers rolled up, a gunshot was heard.

By the time they left, a man was being held for murder.

Based on a media statement from the Costa Mesa Police Department, little more information than that has been released, pending more details expected some time today from homicide detectives.

We do know witnesses led police to the home. After the shot rang out, officers found a woman clinging to life inside the home. She'd been shot in the chest. The unidentified woman was taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, where she was later pronounced dead.

The man who is believed to have shot the woman was in "a domestic relationship" with her. The media statement promises more details on that pending notification to the victim's family.

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UPDATE NO. 1, JULY 9, 12:44 P.M.: According to a Costa Mesa Police Department (CMPD) update from Lt. Tim Schennum, 48-year-old Thomas Michael Wilhelm and his girlfriend of three years had been arguing the past two years about a small business they shared together.

Courtesy of CMPD
Thomas Michael Wilhelm
They also shared the home in the 2900 block of Redwood Avenue, where their bitter differences came to a head last evening with Wilhelm allegedly shooting the yet-to-be identified 45-year-old woman in the chest, killing her.

Officers, who had been called to the residence about a man threatening his girlfriend with a gun, heard a gunshot around 6:30 p.m. before forcing their way inside and finding the woman mortally wounded in the bedroom. Costa Mesa Fire paramedics treated her before she was rushed to Western Medical Center, where she was pronounced deceased.

Wilhelm was apprehended in the backyard, and a small caliber handgun that is believed to have been fired several times at the woman was recovered. He was booked on suspicion of murder at the Costa Mesa Jail before being taken to Orange County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

More information about the shooting is being collected by the Costa Mesa Police Detective Investigations Unit at 714.754.5205. Perhaps the commenter who below called the shooter "an amaxing man" has something to share?

Tom Wilhelm Sprinkler Co., Inc.
Was Tom Wilhelm forced out of the company that bears his name? And was that a motive for murder?
UPDATE NO. 2, JULY 9, 1:13 P.M.: To get a better fix on the business dispute Costa Mesa Police investigators say is at the center of the fatal shooting blamed on Thomas Michael Wilhelm, one need go no farther than the "About Us" page on the Tom Wilhelm Sprinkler Co. website.

There, you will find the following disclaimer:

Due to changes within the corporate structure Tom Wilhelm is not longer associated with this company. If he shows up at your door to do work under this company name please notify us immediately as he is an unlicensed contractor and no longer affiliated with this company in any way.

On the "Contact Us" page, you'll find this comment, left hours are the shooting:

Tom's company has been taken over by a drug addict and an ex-employee. Tom Wilhelm is a wonderful, experienced man, and in an attempt to ruin his life and business this woman is trying to cut him out of his own company. Please do not believe the lies.

This was left before Wilhelm's girlfriend was shot to death:

Tom Wilhelm is the name behind this company. He IS THE ONE WITH THE 30 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE. The person claiming this website is a fraud. And a drug addict using the name of Tom and a worker that Tom fired. Call Tom directly for the quality service you expect at 714-[number withheld].

UPDATE NO. 3, JULY 10, 12:15 P.M.: The 45-year-old woman shot several times in the chest has been identifed as Christian Marie Murray.

State records indicate Murray was listed as the chief financial officer of Tom Wilhelm Sprinkler Co. Inc. when the business was incorporated on June 30.

Thomas Michael Wilhelm is reportedly not mentioned anywhere on the application.

After the jump, Murray's Linked In profile . . .

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