[UPDATED with Arraignment:] Murder Counts for Alleged Would-Be Robber, 2 Lookouts and Getaway Driver in Blown Heist Where Jeweler Killed 2 Baddies
UPDATE, SEPT. 9, 3:09 P.M.: Well, we still haven't received our invite to Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens' presumably rescheduled press conference on the murder arrests of four suspects in the June attempted robbery of a San Juan Capistrano jeweler that resulted in would-be robbers Desmond Brown and Robert Earl Avery of Los Angeles being shot dead by the owner. But we can fill in many of the blanks thanks to an announcement about the impending arraignment on felony murder and attempted robbery charges of Alan Keith Hunter, 39, of Moreno Valley; George Anthony Boozer, 36, of Apple Valley; and James Stephan Paschall, 41, and Eddie Allen Clark Jr., 27, of Gardena.
Each was being held in lieu of $1million bail apiece before today's scheduled 3 p.m. arraignment at the Central Jail in Santa Ana. Under state law, suspects can be charged with murder if their fellow suspects are killed during the commission of a crime.
Boozer, who is accused of being the lookout for three would-be robbers of Monaco Jewelers in San Juan Capistrano on June 24, and Clark, who was allegedly the third bandit who got away without being shot to death by the store owner, each face maximum sentences of 15 years to life in state prison if convicted of all the charges against them.
Third-strikers Hunter, another alleged lookout, and Paschall, who is accused of being the getaway driver, each have two prior strike convictions for 1995 and 1996 armed robberies and face a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison if convicted.
The full Orange County District Attorney's statement, which details the botched heist, killing of two suspects and how authorities nabbed the outstanding men, follows:
September 9, 2011
FOUR MEN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR MURDER OF TWO SUSPECTS IN BOTCHED JEWELRY STORE ATTEMPTED ROBBERY
*Two of the co-defendants are third-strikers for armed robbery convictions
SANTA ANA - Four men will be arraigned today for the murder of two suspects in a jewelry store attempted robbery. Alan Keith Hunter, 39, Moreno Valley, George Anthony Boozer, 36, Apple Valley, James Stephan Paschall, 41, and Eddie Allen Clark Jr., 27, both from Gardena, are each charged with one felony count of murder and one felony count of attempted robbery. If convicted on all counts, Boozer and Clark Jr. face a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison. Third-strikers Hunter and Paschall each have two prior strike convictions for 1995 and 1996 armed robberies and face a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison if convicted. The defendants are being held on $1 million bail and are scheduled to be arraigned today, Sept. 9, 2011, at 3:00 p.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.
At approximately 11:15 a.m. on June 24, 2011, 39-year-old Robert Avery was allowed into the locked premises of Monaco Jewelers on Doheny Park Road in San Juan Capistrano. Clark Jr. is accused of entering the showroom with 39-year-old Desmond Brown. Avery walked out of the showroom and into the work area. He pulled out a gun, grabbed the store manager, and pointed the gun at the manager's head and chest. The store owner then shot Avery and turned the gun on Brown and shot him as Brown was running toward him. Brown kept coming toward the owner and was shot again. Both Brown and Avery died at the scene. Clark Jr. is accused of fleeing the scene.
Hunter and Boozer are accused of being involved as lookouts for police in the attempted robbery. They are accused of fleeing the scene once police began to arrive. Paschall is accused of being involved as the get-away driver.
Orange County Sheriff's Department responded to the scene and investigated the case. Special Weapons and Tactics officers and police dogs surrounded the area in search of Clark Jr., but he was not located. During the investigation, Boozer and Hunter were linked to the crime through phone records and Clark Jr. and Paschall were connected by a DNA hit.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.
ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 8, 11:55 A.M.: Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens was set to share at her Santa Ana headquarters this afternoon details on the murder arrests of four suspects in the June attempted robbery of a San Juan Capistrano jeweler that resulted in two would-be robbers being shot dead by employees.
However, Hutchens' agency just sent word that the press conference on Flower Street has been postponed "[d]ue to developments in the investigation of the robbery/homicide at Monaco Jewelers."
"As soon as circumstances in the case permit, the press conference will be rescheduled," continues the statement from the sheriff's Public Affairs office.
As originally reported, three robbers entered the store at 33955 Doheny Park Road around 11:30 a.m. on June 24, but workers opened fire and killed two of them. Desmond Brown and Robert Earl Avery, both 39 and from Los Angeles, were later pronounced dead at the scene by fire officials.
Desmond Brown was killed in the Monaco robbery.
Courtesy of OCSD
The third robber and a getaway driver got away despite an intense manhunt, roadblocks and the evacuation of nearby businesses.
So was Robert Earl Avery
Courtesy of OCSD
Hutchens was scheduled to face reporters today in the North Operations Briefing Room on the arrests of four people for murder in the case. The news conference was first scheduled for 10:15 a.m. today and then changed late Wednesday afternoon to 2 p.m. today.
At the time of the original incident, the sheriff's spokesman was unsure whether the robbers were armed. It's easy to see why employees of Monaco Jewelers, which is also known as Cash For My Gold, were packing, however.
In July 2009, the store was the victim of a $5.8 million jewelry heist that Orange County sheriff's investigator J. DelMonico called a "very sophisticated, professional job," and "one of the best we've seen."