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GC Posted On: Jun 09, 2017

What started in 2015 as a little cash dispute late became a murder case.

Ezeoma Chigozie Obioha had his eye on Carrie Melvin, 30, who had done social media work for his business. But she turned him down, prosecutors said, and eventually notified state officials that he owed her more than $1,000 for work she had done to promote his company.

Weeks later, Carrie was killed by a man who fired a shotgun blast at her face as she walked with her boyfriend to a Thai restaurant in Hollywood. A shotgun on the beach and a bounced check are key clues to the murder, prosecutor says.

The morning after the killing, a boy playing on the beach in Malibu found Obioha’s Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun under a rock. Lying nearby was an unusual shotgun shell, identical to an expended shell found at the crime scene: a white Rio Royal Grand 12-gauge, 00 buck shell with the head stamp “,” prosecutors said.

On Monday, Obioha, who was convicted last year of first-degree murder, sat showing no emotion. Jurors deliberated about a day before convicting Obioha and finding true the special-circumstance allegation that he committed murder for financial gain.

Defense attorneys plan to file an appeal. Obioha’s defense attorneys had argued that the shotgun shells, as well as the gun, were planted. A blast from a Rio Royal shell would have caused more wounds to the victim’s face, they argued.

In phone calls from jail, Obioha gave his family different explanations about what happened to his gun.

First, he said that it had been stolen. Then, that Melvin’s boyfriend had taken it to set him up. Lastly, he said it had been planted by an ocean photographer who wanted his Instagram and Facebook accounts featured on the news, the prosecutor said.

In court, the victim’s father said that after sitting through the trial and hearing the evidence, he’s convinced that Obioha was the person who killed his daughter. He urged Obioha to accept the sentence.

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