A Long Beach man was convicted today of voluntary manslaughter in the 2007 slaying of a security guard at a Cypress church construction site.
Sean Christopher Hodge, 29, of Long Beach, pleaded guilty to one felony count of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 11 years in state prison.
Besides entering a guilty plea, it likely helped Hodge at sentencing that he testified against his co-defendant. David Joseph Zimmer, 22, of Long Beach, was found guilty by a jury on Oct. 29, 2009, of one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery and a burglary, one felony count of second degree robbery, and one felony count of second degree commercial burglary.
Zimmer was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on June 4.
Zimmer broke into a storage facility at a construction site for Cottonwood Church in Cypress around 3 a.m. Sept. 14, 2007. He planned to steal expensive welding equipment--something his fellow burglar Hodge knew was there, having been fired as a welder at the building site four months earlier.
In the middle of the heist, 51-year-old security guard Michael Garry approached the pair and tried to speak with them.
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Garry, who suffered from Asperger Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, and lived with his brother in Long Beach, was chatted up by Hodge as Zimmer came up from behind the guard and bonked him on the head with a fist and blunt object.
While Garry was on the ground unconscious, the burglars loaded up a vehicle with stolen goods. As the guard regained consciousness, Zimmer repeatedly struck Garry before the pair fled.
After being discovered lying in the dirt later that morning by construction workers arriving at the job site, Garry was rushed to a hospital, where he died a short time later due to blunt force trauma to the head.
Zimmer fled to Mexico in September before he was linked to the crime scene through fingerprints. Further investigation pointed authorities to Hodge, who was arrested on Oct. 3, 2007. A search of Hodge's home eight days later turned up some of the stolen equipment. Zimmer turned himself in the same day.