See the update at the end of this post about Peter Gregory Chadwick being released from custody.
ORIGINAL POST, DEC. 19, 11:15 A.M.: The spousal murder charges against Peter Gregory Chadwick, the U.K.-born real estate investor whose name fits his monicled-millionaire status, have been reduced, according to court documents.
But this is not a case of the rich really not being like you and me--they have spousal murder charges reduced. No, no, chum-chum: prosecutors simply concede they don't have the evidence to make a murder for financial gain special circumstance stick.
Should that change, the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) assures, the special circumstance will be reinstated. Without it, the 48-year-old Newport Beach resident's bail has been re-set at $1 million.
In early October, a neighbor of Peter and Quee "Q.C." Chadwick heard the 46-year-old mother of three scream inside their multi-million-dollar home on Almanzora in the gated Newport Coast community. Police were not alerted then, but they were around 7 p.m. on Oct. 10, when the Chadwick children had not been picked up from school. Police went to the Almanzora home and discovered blood and evidence of a struggle.
Cops revealed a search was under way for the Chadwicks and their champagne-colored 2003 Lexus SUV. Around 5:30 a.m. the next morning, Mr. Chadwick contacted San Diego Police by phone to say he needed assistance along the 905 freeway, near Tijuana. Suspecting foul play despite no body being found, Newport Beach and San Diego police worked together and arrested Chadwick on suspicion of murder.
In announcing the charges against and arraignment of Chadwick on Oct. 15, the OCDA surmised he murdered his wife at their estate and disposed of her body elsewhere because of a dispute over a possible divorce and other money-related issues. That special circumstance allowed Chadwick to be held without bail. He pleaded not guilty.
Quee Chadwick's body was found in a San Diego County dumpster on Oct. 18.
A search warrant affidavit made public Oct. 29 revealed Peter Chadwick told Newport Beach police a house painter who'd been invited into his home to give an estimate for interior work killed his wife in their master bathroom. Peter Chadwick added he was then forced by the painter to drive Quee's body to San Diego County and dump it, according to the court document.
Police did not believe the story because of scratches and bite marks on Chadwick that were consistent with a violent struggle. Once Quee Chadwick's decomposed body was found, a medical examiner checked those injuries in Peter's holding cell to see if they could have been inflicted by his late wife.
Mr. Chadwick is due back in court March 1 for a pre-trial hearing.
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UPDATE, DEC. 20, 1:41 P.M.: As expected, Peter Chadwick made his $1 million bail so, again, the rich are not like you and me, they can have been born out of the country yet still not be consider a flight risk and, of course, be able to make $1 million bail.
As veteran Orange County homicide prosecutor Matt Murphy put it in Patch, "He's got a lot of money, and people with a lot of money can get bail."
Chadwick posted bail at 1:47 a.m. Wednesday. Normally, one would pay 10 percent of the bail amount to a bail bondsman, so the tab would be $100,000 or, as that's referred to in Newport Coast "pocket change."