The OC Serial Killer Who Became the County's Top Snitch

[Moxley Confidential] Law enforcement hid unholy alliance with Oscar Moriel, who wanted $50,000 to recall 'memories' against other defendants

"That's cool."

Flynn recommended the Army and observed, "Put your fucking hand up, and bam! You know you're on the way."

Moriel didn't hide his excitement, but Flynn reminded him "the sooner" he obtained alleged confessions, "the better" his chance for reward. For five years, prosecutors including Erik Petersen made "persistent efforts to conceal" the informant's "writings and other relevant discovery in order to manipulate the presentation of Moriel as a witness," Sanders told Goethals.

Bob Aul


The informant might not yet wear a military uniform, but he has already won benefits. Though charged in the 2005 attempted murder, Moriel's case is in suspicious, never-ending hibernation. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas' office has delayed the trial 37 times in nine years, according to court records.

OCDA officials, who in February insisted they complied with all legal obligations and bitterly attacked Sanders as an unhinged conspiracy nut, conceded after Goethals' forced document production that prosecution teams fouled up more than 11 cases—including, incredibly, ones involving the death penalty—by robbing defendants of evidence during trials. In March and April, prosecutors softened attacks to argue all errors had been innocent (or to blame underlings or ignorance of the law or secrecy-obsessed federal prosecutors). But as Sanders continued to stockpile favorable evidence, outright anger resumed in May, with prosecutor Howard Gundy labeling the public defender's work "vile" and "outrageous." SAPD's Rondou testified he "prays" for Sanders' soul when he's not seething about the disclosures.

Because he has given Sanders the chance to make his case—a nod few other OC judges would have had the courage to permit, Goethals faces a potentially costly decision: How to punish years of government abuses? Whether he will cave to the dominant force in the county's legal system—the prosecutors—or slams them remains a topic of courthouse chatter. Either way, expect the political/legal establishment to kill his judgeship when Goethals—a 62-year-old former defense attorney and high-ranking OC prosecutor—faces the end of his term in January 2017. The public must believe our criminal-justice system is beyond reproach, right?

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