A Costa Mesa man who loudly played the Guns N' Roses song “Used to Love Her” and sang along to the lyrics “I used to love her, but I had to kill her” was convicted Wednesday of doing just that to his live-in girlfriend.
Thomas Michael Wilhelm, 52, could be sentenced to 50 years to life in state prison at a Santa Ana hearing scheduled for Feb. 3.
Just before 6:30 p.m. on July 8, 2012, an intoxicated Wilhelm entered a neighbor's home on Redwood Avenue, stole a handgun and returned to his home.
Christine Marie Murray, his 45-year-old girlfriend and business partner of three years, sent text messages to a friend stating that Wilhelm was intoxicated, blaring Axl Rose & Co. and singing the lyrics that would prove to be prophetic.
Eleven minutes after that text, Wilhelm walked into Murray's bedroom, pulled out the stolen firearm and shot her six times. Out of ammunition, he returned to his neighbor's home, stole a shotgun and fired one round into the ground of the neighbor's backyard in an unsuccessful attempted to shoot himself.
Costa Mesa police officers, who'd been called by nearby residents, were already on the scene to hear the shotgun discharge. They burst into Wilhelm's home to find Murray in her bedroom, unconscious with multiple gunshot wounds to her chest.
As Wilhelm was apprehended and the guns were recovered, Murray was rushed to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, where she was pronounced dead.
As the Weekly previously reported, Wilhelm posted messages on the website of Tom Wilhelm Sprinkler Co. Inc. that claimed Murray and a fired co-worker forced him out of his own company.