While Angela May King liked to make people laugh, Edgar Omar Osorio loved to hurt people, and one night, less than 10 minutes from the Happiest Place on Earth, these two came face to face. It hadn't been a mutually agreed-upon meeting. Looking for guns and money and to enhance his reputation in the Malos De Wicked street gang, the armed 20-year-old Osorio had broken into the modest Anaheim apartment that King, a police traffic officer originally from Long Island, shared with her little dog "TC." Osorio's defense lawyer would later explain that the gruesome October 2000 crime that occurred was partly King's fault because she "unexpectedly came home and surprised the burglar."
It was, the defense lawyer argued, simply a burglary that "went bad."
Sounds almost justifiable, doesn't it?
But Osorio--who chose "Criminal" as his gang moniker and tattooed a gang sign in block letters across his stomach--was hardly distraught over his murderous activity. Afterward, he rode his 10-speed bicycle to a backyard beer party and entered wearing white pants and a white Hanes T-shirt spattered with King's blood. He didn't look shell-shocked. He wasn't crying. He didn't wipe the blood from his hands or hide the black handgun he held. He announced to his fellow hoodlums, "I just shot a pig in the face!"
Celebration soon turned into panic when a frightening thought entered Osorio's brain: Already on parole from the California Youth Authority for a gang drive-by shooting as a juvenile, he'd left his fingerprints throughout King's home. Even he knew this math. His fingerprints (on file) plus police detectives equaled arrest, conviction and long incarceration.
From a garage at the party home, Osorio grabbed flammable liquid and a gym towel, hopped on his bike, and peddled back to the crime scene, a place where--if the winds are just right--you can hear Disneyland patrons screaming on roller-coaster rides. Just like the burglary, it was a simple plan. He'd torch King's apartment (burning his victim's corpse in the process), destroy his fingerprints and--viola!--get away with murder.
But just like the burglary, Osorio screwed up his cover-up.
Whether by stupidity or an unquenchable psychopathic thirst, he got diverted. Instead of burning King's unit, he entered a second unit in her building. And--get this luck--the resident, Betty Easley, returned home, too. Osorio jumped from a crouching position and beat Easley--an elderly woman who couldn't walk without the aid of two canes--to the floor, strangled her, stabbed her repeatedly with her own kitchen knife, cut her throat and left her to die.
It's not clear when Osorio realized that he hadn't accomplished his first mission or that, worse, he had now left his fingerprints at two crime scenes. No problem. He collected loot from both units, and then set them on fire.
To steal a Pentax camera, tripod, cordless telephone and an old VCR, he had killed two people.
Or so he thought. King had died quickly, but Easley, 70, was still alive (though unconscious) as flames engulfed her apartment. She was rescued by firefighters, but later died in the hospital thanks to what Bill Boone, a veteran Anaheim homicide detective, called a "barbaric assault."
An informant helped the Anaheim P.D. solve the case quickly. Prosecutor Howard Gundy won convictions in 2005, and Superior Court Judge Richard Toohey ignored Osorio's pleas for mercy to sentence him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
To underscore his contempt, Toohey even sentenced Osorio to serve an additional 44 years after he's dead.
But here's why this story is fresh today: Sure, Osorio remains unrepentant. No surprise there. This year, he demanded that his convictions (two murders, two burglaries, two robberies and two arsons in a 90-minute period) be overturned in part because he said he'd been denied his Sixth Amendment right to confront Easley, who had given police a statement before dying in advance of the trial.
Pretty ballsy, huh?
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A three-judge appellate panel thought so. In late July, they rejected Osorio's appeal. They told him he'd forfeited his right to confront a witness because he was the cause of her inability to testify. Just as the victims' families wished, this punk will never return to society.
(Wednesdays at OCWeekly.com, discover the depths of human depravity in Orange County, California.)
Click HERE for previous "Citizen of the Week!" winners.
-- R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly