A trial began on Nov. 29 for a 32-year-old defendant accused of murdering a female victim in Hollywood during the Fourth of July weekend in 2015.
The defendant, Ezeoma Chigozie Obioha, is charged with one count of murder, with the special circumstances of lying in wait and murder for financial gain. Obioha is accused of killing Carrie Jean Melvin on July 5, 2015, as she walked with her boyfriend on Sunset Boulevard near McCadden Place. He was arrested on July 24, 2015 at an undisclosed location after police allegedly tied him to the murder. Media reports indicated that Obioha lived on Ogden Drive near Pico Boulevard.
The prosecution and defense made opening statements on Nov. 30, and the prosecution was scheduled to begin presenting its arguments to a jury on Dec. 1. The trial is expected to continue for multiple days, said Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Risling.
Prosecutors allege Obioha hid near Melvin’s residence in Hollywood, approached the victim and her boyfriend from behind as they walked on the sidewalk and shot Melvin in the head with a shotgun. The crime occurred at approximately 10:10 p.m. on July, 5, 2015. Melvin’s boyfriend was not injured.
Prosecutors allege the homicide stemmed from a dispute between the defendant and the victim over money he owed her for work she completed promoting a clothing business he owned on social media. Melvin allegedly filed a complaint against Obioha with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office in the days prior to the murder, claiming he paid her with a check that bounced, according to media reports. Risling could not confirm the allegation, but said prosecutors believe other evidence links the defendant to the murder.
Prosecutors informed jurors about a shotgun found by a citizen in Malibu days after the homicide that was registered to Obioha, as well as a shotgun shell found at the beach that was the same type as one found at the scene of the homicide, according to reports. Risling confirmed that the shotgun is included in the prosecution’s evidence, but could provide no further details about evidence in the case because of the ongoing trial.
Det. John Skaggs, with the Los Angeles Police Department’s West Bureau Homicide Unit, confirmed in July 2015 that Obioha ran a fledgling clothing business called Hoods Inc. in the 5500 block of Pico Boulevard. He also worked as a security guard at a medical marijuana clinic. Obioha had worked as a security guard at different companies in the past and had a state security guard license that expired in 2015, Skaggs added.
Risling said the case is scheduled to continue next week in Dept. 104 of the Los Angeles Superior Court.
“There is no way to tell how long it will go,” Risling added.
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