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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, April 26, 2010

Hawaii man charged in second cold-case murder in Southern California

Associated Press

SANTA ANA, Calif. A Hawaii man already awaiting trial for the 1987 murder of a topless bar owner has been charged with another cold case murder, the killing of a Pasadena grocery store owner the same year, authorities said Friday.

Prosecutors have amended the complaint against Richard Curtis Morris Jr., of Pearl City, to include the murder of Vincent Mejia and special circumstances, including murder during a robbery and committing multiple murders, Orange County district attorney's spokeswoman Farrah Emami said in a statement.

Prosecutors allege Morris and an unidentified man were robbing the clerks at the small Pasadena grocery store when Mejia tried to intervene and was shot in the chest on May 15, 1987. He died about two weeks later.

Pasadena police arrested Morris after the killing, but he was never charged.

Investigators reopened the case after Morris was arrested in 2008 and charged with one of Orange County's most famous unsolved killings, the execution-style shooting of topless bar owner Jimmy Casino in his Buena Park home.

Casino, whose real name was James Stockwell, was shot in the head and a female companion at his home was bound and raped. Prosecutors said DNA from the rape was matched with that of Morris, who had submitted a sample for an unrelated case in Hawaii.

Morris was arrested in Honolulu. He was not charged with the rape because the statute of limitations had expired.

Casino's death was the first in a series of shootings linked to the lucrative Mustang Topless Theater. One of the club's financial backers was blinded after being shot in the head and a bouncer was killed execution-style in an Irvine parking lot in 1988.

Morris was being held without bail.