Hazardous Waist

Charles Ray George thought an OC stripper would cost him $150. She cost him his life.

But the booker's priority is securing reservations. A handwritten instruction manual found at Parra's Bellflower office reveals the game plan to play on callers: "If he asks what you do for $150, say you can't say too much over the phone, but say, 'We will have a good time, lots of closeness, touching, getting naked. You'll be satisfied.'"

Contingency scenarios included:

"If you are comfortable with some people, you can say 'full service.' If he asks for a specific act, then there are three [options]: 1. Hang up. 2. Try to work around it. 3. Book it; then hit and run"--escort parlance for tricking a customer into paying for sex but fleeing with his cash before delivering on the promise.

Prosecutor Murray believes the hit-and-run scam was standard operating procedure for Parra and Nava.

"Their goal was to find potential people to rip off," said Murray. "They thought they had a fool-proof plan because men wouldn't feel comfortable calling police to complain. They were selling sex without the intention of engaging in sex, and then laughing at their victims."

The degree of frustration George felt when he discovered Nava wasn't a prostitute—or, perhaps, wasn't one unless she received additional incentive--may remain a mystery forever. George can't speak. Nava isn't talking.

But 25 minutes after entering the apartment, Nava used her cell phone to call Parra--who'd been waiting outside in his late-model, dark-colored Hyundai. She'd later tell her lawyer that George wanted sex, she wanted out, and Parra wanted to protect her. Police believe another version is likely: George merely wanted his money back.

Neighbor Hull remembers she was working on her computer when she heard a "really loud thump" that shook the building. It was Parra--a tall, heavyset man--trying to kick down George's door. Parra lawyer Christian R. Jensen said every "reasonable person" dealing with the potential rape of an employee would behave as his client did.

"Charles George died at the hands of Daniel Parra," Jensen told a jury. "We're looking at the mindset of Mr. Parra on the evening of Jan. 29. All the neighbors heard a commotion. They said there is something going on in there and it's bad. What were Mr. Parra's actions? He was using any means necessary to get in. Three times, he tried to get in through the window. He is desperate. A witness says he's going to call police, and Mr. Parra says, 'Go ahead.' He's not doing anything secretive. But this work can get dangerous. People can get hurt. People are drunk. People are on drugs and have weapons. It's a violent situation. Mr. Parra eventually gets the door open."

Daniel Louis ParraThere's little disagreement that when the door opened, Nava fled silently by Parra on her way to the Hyundai. Parra then entered the apartment wielding his industrial-sized flashlight. Moments later, a witness at the apartment complex saw a distraught George, dressed only in his underwear, trying to escape through his front door.

"Parra was wearing a military-style jacket that night," said prosecutor Murray. "And people saw the arms of someone wearing a military-style jacket grab Mr. George, spin him around and pull him back inside the apartment. Then there are a series of crashes and thuds."

Terror likely consumed George's final moments. Evidence indicates he attempted to lock himself in his bedroom, but Parra kicked the bedroom door down with such force he cracked it in half. When Parra finished beating his customer with the six-pound flashlight, he casually walked out of the apartment, paused only to call an alarmed bystander "stupid," climbed into his Hyundai and drove away with Nava.

Paramedics found a bloody George lying on his floor in a coma. He was taken to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center but never regained consciousness. He died the next day.

An autopsy determined George had been bludgeoned with a heavy object. The coroner found numerous defensive wounds on the victim's arms and hands; bruises to his torso and rib cage; and lacerations to his lip, face, and all over the back and crown of his skull, which had been shattered. A massive brain hemorrhage caused death.

Investigator Bill Vining, a 24-year-veteran of the Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD), is known among colleagues as a low-key yet tireless sleuth. He's been assigned to murder cases for the past six years. Vining says citizen tips commonly help solve murders. But there would be no tips in the George case. Escort-industry employees don't like to talk to homicide detectives.

When Vining and fellow deputy Dan Salcedo arrived at the crime scene, they found "a real whodunit." Neighbors who saw the killers didn't know their identities, and the getaway Hyundai was using fake paper license plates. Detectives started from scratch.

"We interviewed the witnesses and determined that the victim had apparently hired a girl," said Vining. "That's about all we knew at first."

There were few additional clues except that the killers accidentally left two pieces of clothing near George's body: an orange spaghetti-strap top and a black, full-face ski mask with only eye slits. Both items carried DNA, but whose?

Some phone companies erase specific details of local calls after about 48 hours. Vining and Salcedo quickly obtained George's records and discovered two calls on the evening of his death: one to an escort service called Society X in Torrance and another to a voice-mail pager belonging to a female named Gypsy. The detectives then tied Gypsy to the escort-service website they found on George's home computer.

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