Gary Allen Smola Murder Investigation Stalls so Costa Mesa Police Announce $10,000 Reward

Categories: 2012 Homicides

A $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer or killers of an auto and boat detailer was announced by the Costa Mesa Police Department.

Gary Allen Smola, 50, was found beaten to death on the floor of his home in the 1700 block of Whittier Avenue around 4:20 p.m. on Aug. 4, 2012.

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Jose Feliz Zepeda, Drug Supplier Guilty of Meth Thief's Murder, Faces Double Life Term

Jose Felix Zepeda did not pull the trigger on the gun that killed 29-year-old Leder Vazquez Sanchez about a half-mile from Disneyland on April 25, 2012, but Zepeda is the only one of several defendants to be convicted of first-degree murder in the case. A jury Thursday found Zepeda, a 41-year-old drug supplier out of Los Angeles, guilty of special circumstances murder during the commission of a kidnapping, kidnapping for ransom, reward, extortion, or to exact from another person money and other valuable things, and conspiracy to sell methamphetamine with a sentencing enhancement for possession of a substance to distribute exceeding one kilogram.

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Joseph Robert Suess Convicted of Murdering Popular IVC Student Mikel Anthony Williams

Mikel Williams, R.I.P.
The fatal stabbing of 55-year-old Mikel Anthony Williams struck a chord at Irvine Valley College in 2012. After a rough life--Williams' mother and brother were murdered before him--he seemed to have turned his life around after getting a college education at IVC, moving into housing nearby and trading bus rides for his own car.

On Wednesday, his killer was convicted of first-degree murder and now faces 76 years to life in prison at a scheduled May 23 sentencing hearing in Santa Ana.

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Jose Felix Zepeda, Alleged Killer of Man Who Stole Meth, Called Leader of "Revenge Caravan"

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Senior Deputy District Attorney Jim Mendelson saved some colorful language to describe the last of several murder defendants tried in what boils down dealers stealing meth from other dealers.

In his opening statement Thursday, the prosecutor called Jose Felix Zepeda, 41, of Los Angeles, "the ring leader," "the shot caller" and the leader of a "revenge caravan." (Dibs on Revenge Caravan as the name of my new reality show!)

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Felipe Jesus Delgado Gets Life in Prison With No Parole for Fatal Stabbing of Deliveryman

Twenty-three-year-old Felipe Jesus Delgado will spend the rest of his life in prison for robbing and fatally stabbing a 67-year-old delivery man in Anaheim on the Fourth of July 2012.

A judge today sentenced Delgado to life in prison without the possibility of parole. A jury on Dec. 12 had found him guilty of first-degree murder with a special circumstance of robbery and a count of robbery. Meanwhile, he's facing an attempted-murder rap in Santa Cruz County for allegedly shooting a man twice who survived his injuries.

Say goodnight, Felipe!

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Juan Carlos Carranza and Alma Lopez Trinidad Cop to Roles in Meth Theft That Spurred Slaying

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Alma Lopez Trinidad
Two more drug dealers have pleaded guilty to roles in a methamphetamine robbery that led to retaliation and Anaheim's fifth murder of 2012.

The plea deals reached with 26-year-old Juan Carlos Carranza and Alma Lopez Trinidad, 27, leaves suspected killer Jose Felix Zepeda as the lone remaining defendant. Trial for the 41-year-old charged with murder, kidnapping for extortion and conspiracy with sentencing enhancements for drug possession is scheduled to begin Jan. 27.

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Agustin Velazquez, Kain Espinoza, Rocio Badilla Admit to Methy Roles That Led to Man's Murder

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Agustin Vazquez Velazquez
Three drug dealers pleaded guilty to conspiracy and extortion in connection with a scheme to retaliate for a methamphetamine robbery that led to Anaheim's fifth murder of 2012.

Agustin Vazquez Velazquez, 28, Kain Espinoza, 28, and Rocio Alejandra Badilla, 23, each admitted going to an apartment complex in the 300 block of East Clifton Avenue on April 25, 2012, when Luis Arreola was shot to death.

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Felipe Jesus Delgado Guilty of Fourth of July Fatal Stabbing of 67 y.o. in Anaheim

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An Anaheim man was convicted last week of special circumstances murder for robbing a 67-year-old man of his wallet and then repeatedly stabbing the fellow until he died on the Fourth of July, 2012.

Felipe Jesus Delgado, 22, could be sentenced to life in state prison without the possibility of parole at a Santa Ana hearing scheduled for Jan. 31.

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Eder Giovanni Herrera, Once Held for 2 Killings Pinned to Izzy Ocampo, Still a Possible Suspect

See the update at the end of the next page on the DA saying Eder Herrera is still being investigated for the murders of his mother and brother.

Eder Herrera
ORIGINAL POST, DEC. 3, 12:56 P.M.: The lawyer for a man who sat in Orange County Jail for three months after being arrested for the murders of his mother and brother--and that were later blamed on presumed serial killer Itzcoatl Ocampo--is seeking "justice" for his client.

Pasadena-based lawyer John Burton has sent a letter to Senior Deputy District Attorney Susan A. Price that accuses her office of having denied "closure" to Eder Giovanni Herrera by continuing to treat him as a "suspect" despite his "false arrest" by Brea police.

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Itzcoatl Ocampo's Father: I'm Going to Scatter My Son's Ashes at Camp Pendleton, Per His Wishes

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Itzcoatl Ocampo
Part 2 of a two-part interview. Read our previous interview with Refugio Ocampo here...
Refugio Ocampo blames himself for what happened to his son, Itzcoatl.

"I had to sign the paperwork allowing my son to join the Marines at age 17," he said. "I didn't want him to go--I wanted him to go to college. But he said that once he turned 18, he'd sign up anyways. So I signed for him to join, but told him he had to take full responsibility for his actions."

Ocampo would eventually ship out to Iraq, never seeing any combat but returning a scarred man, according to family and friends. They blame that experience for turning Ocampo into the killer of six people in late 2011 and 2012, crimes for which he was awaiting trial for before swallowing Ajax and killing himself over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Refugio has no love lost for the Marines, claiming they didn't help Itzcoatl get the psychological help he needed. Nevertheless, Dad plans to go through with what his son wanted: having his ashes scattered at Camp Pendleton.

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