Homicide detectives in some of the more active Orange County law enforcement agencies might disagree, but if you look at the county as a whole there were actually fewer reported murders in 2013 than we've noticed in recent years.
But we did still experience some horrific isolated incidents, at least one of which generated international headlines.
They also generated the list of 10 murderers (or suspects) that begins on the next pages ...
1) Christopher Jordan Dorner
Southern California (and especially police officers here) were thrown into a tizzy after the Feb. 3 slayings of Cal State Fullerton assistant women's basketball coach Monica Quan and her fiancé Keith Lawrence, a University of Southern California public safety officer. An autopsy would show Quan died of three gunshot wounds to the back of the head as she sat in Lawrence's Kia Optima parked at their upscale Irvine condo complex. She also received a "tangential gunshot wound" on her right forearm. Lawrence was shot multiple times, including five times in the head and face and twice in his back and neck, as the Kia was riddled with bullets. Published on Facebook the next day was Christopher Dorner's "manifesto" threatening cops in Los Angeles by name--including Quan's father who had guided the fired police officer through disciplinary hearings--and cops everywhere by association. The former La Palma resident would go on to be blamed for killing two law enforcement officers before meeting his own fiery end in Big Bear. (http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2013/06/christopher_jordan_dorner_fire.php)
2) Ali Syed
Orange County had barely recovered from the Dorner nightmare by Feb. 19, when the parents of 20-year-old Ali Syed called sheriff's deputies to their Ladera Ranch home after discovering the body of 20-year-old Courtney Aoki in their son's bedroom. Syed had left a suicide note and taken off in the family's SUV. Before the day was over, construction worker Jeremy Lewis, businessman Melvin Lee Edwards and Syed himself had been shot dead. Syed, who had fired randomly at motorists on Orange County freeways, turned his gun on himself to end a police chase. It later came out that Aoki was engaged and pregnant, so add another death to the body count. (http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2013/03/ali_syed_left_suicide_note_in.php)
3) Marilyn Kay Edge
Before Marilyn Kay Edge was to turn her 13-year-old son Jaelen and 10-year-old daughter Faith over to the court-ordered custody of their father in Georgia, she drove her children from her home in Scottsdale, Arizona, to Orange County for an October day at Disneyland. But they never made it to the "Happiest Place on Earth." Police say she poisoned her children and left them to die in a third-floor room at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Santa Ana. Edge disclosed that after trying unsuccessfully to drive her gray Honda Accord into an electrical vault in the Home Depot parking lot in Costa Mesa, where she held off responders by trying to strangle herself. An Orange County Superior Court judge asked Edge three times Sept. 17 if she agreed to a one-month postponement of her arraignment, and she answered quietly each time, "Only if you promise to give me the death penalty." (http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2013/10/marilyn_kay_edge_murder_arraig.php)
4) Stanwood Fred Elkus
The afternoon of Jan. 28 was like most other Mondays for Dr. Ronald Gilbert. After a light rap on the examination-room door, he entered to see a new patient in his Orange Coast Urology office in Newport Beach. But the elderly man had not come for the consultation he'd scheduled, instead allegedly firing eight rounds into the chest of "Dr. Ron," as he was known to patients, staff and friends. One pal believes Gilbert was dead before he hit the floor. Accused killer Stanwood Fred Elkus, a 75-year-old Lake Elsinore barber, had apparently come to settle what he believed to be a botched prostate operation he underwent at a Veterans Administration hospital decades earlier. But while Gilbert had worked at that VA facility, there was no record he performed the surgery; the Gilbert family attorney believes another urologist with a similar name treated Elkus. (http://www.ocweekly.com/2013-09-26/news/ronald-gilbert-promescent-absorption-pharmaceuticals/)
5) Abraham Felmley
When Huntington Beach Police found the bodies or Abraham Felmley and Robert Andres Duran in a Bartlett Park homeless encampment in July, investigators quickly put it together that 32-year-old parolee Felmley likely shot the transient in the head and then turned the gun on himself. But that was not the only bloodshed as before Felmley arrived in Orange County, he had days before set fire to a home in southeastern Sacramento County that killed his 62-year-old uncle and 84-year-old grandfather. Family members told sheriff's investigators that Felmley had a "history of substance abuse" and "strained relationships" with family members. (http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2013/07/abraham_felmley_bodies_bartlett_park.php)
6) Oscar Luis Morlett III
Orange County sheriff's deputies were called to a Foothill Ranch residence in August about a domestic disturbance, but what they discovered prompted them to call in homicide detectives. It was the body of 66-year-old Jeanne Ellen Morlett, who'd been cut up by what Orange County prosecutors later disclosed was "some kind of ax." About two miles from the murder scene, deputies arrested Oscar Luis Morlett III, who was the deceased woman's 21-year-old stepson. At the time of his arrest for suspected felony murder with a sentencing enhancement allegation for personal use of a deadly weapon, Morlett was due in court for a separate incident that resulted in him being charged with misdemeanor carrying a dirk or dagger, possession of a deadly weapon (a leaded cane) and having a passenger under 21 in possession of alcohol in a vehicle. (http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2013/08/body_lake_forest_homicide_blaz.php)
7) Christopher Ernest Leovy
One sober-living operator had moved out of a home at 536 Hamilton St., Costa Mesa, and another was moving in last September when handyman John Gerard Kubat arrived early in the morning to do some work on the place. The new rehab operator arrived later in the morning to find the body of 54-year-old Kubat in the driveway. A Los Angeles television station covering the slaying captured an issue of OC Weekly flapping on the driveway as well. Homicide detectives quickly zeroed in on Christopher Ernest Leovy as a "person of interest," and he was already known to police by then. Cops had previous contact with the transient at nearby Wilson Park, where he'd been cited for minor infractions of city code. Leovy was also known to police and park rangers as a past client of a sober-living home. It was at the park that "combative" Leovy was confronted by officers after Kubat's slaying, and he was jailed on suspected assault on a cop. But further investigation led a murder count being added against Leovy. (http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2013/09/oc_weekly_murder_scene.php and http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2013/09/homicide_hamilton_street_costa.php)
8) Irvin Tellez and Jaime Prieto Rocha
Jaime Prieto Rocha is accused of being the driver and Irvin Tellez and Nancy Hammour the passengers in a car that pulled up to a woman waiting at a curb for a ride after midnight in Santa Ana on Sept. 2, when Tellez struck up a conversation with her and allegedly pulled out a 9mm gun and shot her once in the face. She would survive her injuries. Later that morning, Tellez allegedly shot Hammour in the face, causing her to slump over in the car's backseat. She was still alive until Tellez allegedly fired the second kill-shot into her face. Her body was later dumped under a bridge in Newport Beach. Prosecutors believe the slaying was connected to a sweeping investigating into Latino prison gangs and charges against multiple accused shot-callers already behind bars. Documents released to the public related to the investigation had mentioned 28-year-old Hammour by name. Tellez and Rocha are now on the hook for her murder. (http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2013/10/irvin_tellez_jaime_prieto_roch.php)
9) Whoever killed Jose Ramiro Baez Paredes
A motorist decided to check a trash can on the south side of Brea Canyon Road that had not been moved for more than a week in June. That led to Brea Police closing that stretch just south of Tonner Canyon Road during a busy Friday evening rush hour for a very good cause: a homicide investigation. Because as it turned out inside the can was the body of 46-year-old Jose Ramiro Baez Paredes, a Santa Ana husband and father who had been reported missing shortly before the container caught the motorist's eye. An autopsy failed to produce a cause of death. (http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2013/06/jose_ramiro_baez_paredes_brea.php
10) Whoever Killed Racky
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Video from the riots in downtown Huntington Beach after the U.S. Open of Surfing ended in July was the greatest tool cops had in apprehending vandals. But video we posted has yet to uncover the killer of OC Weekly's beloved newsstand Racky. The Mexican-in-Chief even offered this reward: $250 and "I'll let you take over ¡Ask a Mexican! for a week, give you a T-shirt, tickets to our awesome Decadence food free-for-all, write a story about you hailing you as OC's greatest civil-rights hero since the Bernals, get your picture in the paper (or, if you want to remain anonymous, get a picture in the paper of the person or business of your choice) AND get free OC Weeklys from the rack of your choice. FOR LIFE." We're still waiting ... Meanwhile, the greatest injustice is a nearby Orange County Register rack was barely abused. (http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2013/08/huntington_beach_riots_oc_weekly_racky.php)