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LA man charged in severed head case

11 March 2014, 12:28

Los Angeles - Los Angeles County prosecutors have charged a man with murdering his live-in boyfriend and dumping his severed head, hands and feet near the Hollywood sign two years ago.

Police announced the arrest of Gabriel Campos-Martinez, 38, on suspicion of killing Hervey Coronado Medellin, 66, of Los Angeles. Campos-Martinez was arrested in San Antonio, Texas, on Sunday with the help of local authorities and was being held on $1m bail pending an extradition hearing.

Campos-Martinez was charged on Monday with one felony count of murder with malice aforethought in the slaying of Medellin, who had been dating Campos-Martinez and was living with him at the time of his disappearance, Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace said. It wasn't clear if Campos-Martinez was represented by an attorney.

A felony complaint alleges Medellin was killed on or around 27 December 2011. A coroner's report found that he had died of asphyxiation and ruled it a homicide.

Two women discovered Medellin's head while walking dogs on a trail in Griffith Park on 17 January 2012. One of the dogs, which was off its leash, had started to play with a plastic bag. When the dog shook the bag, the head fell out.

Campos-Martinez had filed a missing persons report at Hollywood station the day prior to the gruesome Griffith Park discovery.

Medellin was a retired Mexicana Airlines ticket counter worker who had been living on a pension when he disappeared.

Suspicious statements

His close friends had grown concerned after being unable to reach him for days and requested Los Angeles police to conduct a welfare check at his apartment. After officers stopped by on 16 January 2012, Campos-Martinez made the missing persons report, Grace said.

The two men met in March 2011 and moved into an apartment together roughly six months before Medellin went missing, Grace said.

Campos-Martinez moved to San Antonio later in 2012 to work for a catering company but remained in touch with detectives investigating the case, Grace said.

Campos-Martinez's inconsistent comments and suspicious statements turned the investigation's focus onto him.

"The suspect had the most information and the last contact with the victim," Grace said. "So the investigation centred on him."

More than 120 police officers, fire-fighters and Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies took part in a two-day search of 7 acres of the park after Medellin's head was discovered.

A cadaver dog helped investigators find more body parts, including hands and feet, near the same area where the severed head was discovered.

If convicted, Campos-Martinez faces 25 years to life in prison.

- AP

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