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

Pearl City man charged in 2nd 1987 California murder

Associated Press

A Pearl City man already awaiting trial for the 1987 murder of a topless-bar owner in Southern California has been charged with another cold-case murder, the killing of a Pasadena grocery store owner the same year, authorities in Orange County, Calif., said.

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. Morris was being held without bail.

Prosecutors allege that 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 May 15, 1987. He died about two weeks later.

Morris was arrested after the killing, but was never charged.

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

Casino was shot in the head and a woman companion at his home was bound and raped. Prosecutors said DNA from the rape was matched to Morris, who had submitted a sample in an unrelated case in Hawai'i. Morris was arrested in Honolulu.

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 by a shot in the head and a bouncer was killed execution-style in a parking lot in 1988.