Crime Log: Nursing home homicide case dismissed

Seal Beach Police Department

Defendant passes away before trial takes place

Compiled by Charles M. Kelly

The homicide case against case against an elderly man accused of murdering his wife in a Seal Beach nursing home was dismissed on Jan 19, 2018, slightly more than seven years after his arrest. He passed away before his case went to trial. Laird was 88 when he was arrested on the day that he shot his wife on Nov. 23, 2010.

Roy Charles Laird had been charged with one count of murder and with one enhancement of personally discharging a firearm, resulting in the 2010 death of his 86-year-old wife. The “enhancement” meany Laird could have been sentenced to 50 years to life rather than 25 years to life, meaning that if he had convicted of murder, he would have been theoretically required to wait 50 years to be eligible for parole. The shooting occurred on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010 in the victim’s apartment in the Country Villa Healthcare Center just outside of Leisure World.

The DA’s Office reported that the victim was in late-stage dementia.

According to the Orange County Superior Court Web site, Laird was out on a conditional release. According to press reports, Laird was released and placed in a nursing home years ago.

Preliminary Hearing set for Feb 27 in Seal Beach hate crime.

The latest: A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 27, 2018 for two Seal Beach men accused of a hate crime against a gay couple in November 2017, according to the Orange County Superior Court website.

The purpose of a preliminary hearing is to determine whether a case will go to trial.

Seal Beach Police Sgt. Michael Henderson recently confirmed that a a third juvenile suspect was arrested in addition to the two adult suspects.

Legal proceedings involving minors are not public records.

On Dec. 12, 2017, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced that Samuel Blake Wickwire, 18, of Seal Beach, had been charged with making criminal threats and battery. A sentencing enhancement alleged the crime was movtivated by hatred of the victims. The maximum penalty is seven years in state prison.

The previous week, prosecutors formally charged Seal Beach resident Wade Rutledge, 27, with assault and threatening a witness.

A sentencing enhancement alleges the crime was motivated by hatred of the victims, a gay couple.

Rutledge could also face a maximum penalty of seven years in state prison.

Rutledge was arraigned Dec. 5.

Rutledge’s preliminary hearing was scheduled to begin Monday, Dec. 18, but was canceled, according to the Orange County Superior Court website. A preliminary hearing has not been scheduled.

Seal Beach Police arrested Wickwire on Dec. 10. Seal Beach Police officers arrested Seal Beach resident Rutledge on Dec. 3, 2017, on suspicion of robbery in connection with the violent taking of a cell phone.

According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department website, Rutledge is in custody in the Orange County Jail with bail set at $50,000.

According to the DA’s Office, on Nov. 3, 2017, at approximately 7 p.m., Rutledge approached John Doe 1 and his boyfriend John Doe 2 in a parking lot near 10th Street and Ocean Avenue in Seal Beach.

According to prosecutors, Rutledge and Wickwire and their companions reportedly made derogatory remarks about the couple’s same-sex relationship and threatened them with violence if they did not leave.

Prosecutors specifically accused Wickwire of spitting on one of the men.

John Doe 1 called 911 and, according to prosecutors, Rutledge grabbed the victim’s arm, forcing the phone out of his hand, disconnecting the 911 call, and walked back to his friends.

Prosecutors say Rutledge returned the phone but told John Doe 1 to leave and not call the police.

As the victims entered their car to leave, prosecutors say Rutledge shoved John Doe 2 into the passenger seat and slammed the door on his arm while yelling at them to hurry and leave the area.

The DA’s office says detectives are still seeking additional suspects. Police are asking anyone with information about the case to contact Detective Jeff Gibson at 562-799-4100 ext. 1109.

Feb. 8 trial Readiness
conference in Lewd
conduct case

The latest: A trial readiness conference is scheduled for Feb. 8 in the case of a former Seal Beach youth sports coach who has been accused of abusing two children, according to the Orange County Superior Court website.

The jury trial is currently scheduled to start Feb. 15. However, trial dates are subject to change. The jury trial was previously scheduled to start Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017.

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Scott Durzo, who owned a youth sports camp business called the Total Sport Camp, was originally charged Friday, May 9, 2014, with nine felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under age 14.

Durzo has been charged with 20 counts involving two victims, identified in court records as John Doe and John Doe 2. According to the complaint filed with the Orange County Superior Court, 18 counts stem from incidents that allegedly occurred between May 1, 2005 and Oct. 3, 2006, involving John Doe.

The complaint also accused Durzo of two more counts of lewd conduct stemming from incidents that allegedly occurred between Jan. 13, 2003 and Jan. 12, 2005, involving John Doe 2, a child of 14 and 15 years of age. ” In June 2014, Durzo was released on $250,000 bail. Electronic monitoring was not a condition of his release.

Feb. 28 pre-trial hearing in Main street manslaughter Case

The latest: A pre-trial hearing on an unspecified issue is scheduled for Feb. 28, 2018, for a Seal Beach resident accused of involuntary manslaughter as the result of punching another Seal Beach man in the face, according to the Orange County Superior Court website.

According to the DA’s Office, on July 18, 2017 at approximately 1:20 a.m., Meier was socializing at Clancy’s, a Main Street bar where he is employed, when he allegedly punched 46-year-old James Tinsman once in the face with a closed fist, causing the victim to lose consciousness, fall backward, and strike his head on the pavement outside of the bar.

Witnesses called 911 and emergency medical responders took the victim to a local hospital. Tinsman died later that day as a result of severe head trauma sustained during the assault. In the early morning hours of Aug. 2, 2017, Seal Beach Police arrested Meier.

He was released on $100,000 bail posted on Aug. 8, 2017, according to the courthouse website.