Man on trial for Hollywood murder of woman from Morro Bay
December 6, 2016
A marijuana dispensary security guard is standing trial for the murder of Carrie Jean Melvin, 30, who grew up in Morro Bay. Melvin was shot and killed in Hollywood by a gunman who walked up behind her, fired one round into her face and fled. [LA Times]
Prosecutors said 31-year-old Ezeoma Obioha, who also owns a clothing line, was the gunman. Obioha allegedly owed a debt to Melvin and was romantically interested in her.
Melvin moved to Hollywood to pursue a career in the entertainment industry after studying film and digital media production at UC Santa Cruz. Her family remained in Morro Bay. Melvin had been working as a waitress while she developed a social media and consulting business.
In July 2015, Melvin was walking with her boyfriend near Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood when a gunman shot and killed her and then fled in a black car. Officers arrested Obioha a few weeks after the murder.
Last week, in a downtown Los Angeles courthouse, prosecutor Michele Hanisee told a jury that Obioha owed Melvin money for marketing his business on social media. Days before the murder, Obioha was notified that Melvin had filed a claim with the state Labor Commission after his $1,620 check bounced. The payment was compensation for 87 hours of work she did.
At the scene of the shooting, police recovered an unusual shotgun shell: a white Rio Royal Grand 12-gauge oo-buck shell with a “globalshot.com” head stamp, Hanisee said. The next morning, a boy found a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun under a rock while playing on the beach in Malibu near Pacific Coast Highway and Sunset Boulevard.
A white Rio Royal shell that was stamped “globalshot.com” was lying an arm’s length from the gun. The shotgun’s serial number showed it was registered to Obioha, Hanisee said.
The prosecutor also said the location where the shotgun was found is a simple drive down Sunset Boulevard from the scene of the shooting.
Melvin’s boyfriend, Anyimalik Howell, told investigators he never met Obioha. But, he knew of him as “EZ” and said Obioha stiffed Melvin out of wages. Howell fingered Obioha from a six-man photographic lineup several weeks after the shooting.
Defense attorney Jamon Hicks said Anyimalik could not see the shooter over the gun barrel.
Hicks described Obioha as an entrepreneur whose sisters attended Ivy League schools. Obioha is also a father of two who ran track at Beverly Hills High School, served in the U.S. Army and attended Morehouse College. He had no motive to kill Melvin, Hicks said.
Hicks also said Obioha had paid Melvin for her work. As proof, he showed the jury a receipt for a $1,740 cash payment.