Gary A. Shawkey Appeal of Conviction in Investor's Murder Denied by State's High Court

The California Supreme Court Monday rejected an appeal by a murderer convicted of luring an investor onto a sailboat out of Dana Point Harbor and throwing his body overboard.

As a three-justice panel of the Fourth District Court of Appeals had in September, the state Supreme Court affirmed the conviction of Gary A. Shawkey, 49, of Mechanicsville, Va.

Gary A. Shawkey's Trail of Lies Ends in Santa Ana, Where He's Found Guilty of Murdering Partner

Like O.J. looking for Nicole's killer, motivational speaker Shawkey criss-crossed the country spinning tales of searching for his business partner Robert Vendrick, a 71-year-old Phoenix man who was last seen in Orange County in February 2008.

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By then Shawkey had hooked Vendrick into schemes dating back to January 2004, each promising high rates of returns but all soaking the retired software executive for $1.2 million.

In the waning days of their relationship, Vendrick was talking of pulling out all his investments. That's when Shawkey engineered one more scam involving the development of top-secret computer software for the federal government. After wiring Shawkey $100,000, Vendrick flew into Orange County to board a 23-foot sailboat his partner purchased for a trip from Dana Point Harbor to San Clemente Island, where federal agents would finalize the deal.

It was another lie, but the last one Vendrick would hear as he was never seen or heard from again. His body never turned up.

Shawkey was jailed in Virginia on an unrelated theft charge in February 2009 when authorities there discovered murder charges had been filed against him in Orange County. He was extradited here the following month and has been behind bars ever since. A jury found him guilty of felony special circumstances murder for financial gain, grand theft and a sentencing enhancement for stealing over $200,000. He was sentenced in July 2011 to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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