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A California man suspected of killing a former hockey pro and criminal justice advocate tried to break into other homes in the area and was reportedly trying to find a romantic rival the weekend of the gruesome slayings.
Police have not released a motive in the slayings of Darren Donald Partch, 38, and Wendy Sue Miller, 48—who were discovered Easter Sunday in Partch’s condo by the former hockey pro’s roommate—however, investigators have said that suspect Jamon Buggs, 44, is believed to have tried to break into other homes that same weekend, according to KTLA.
Ester Lau lives in one of the apartments and told local station KABC that police later told her that Buggs had gone to her apartment looking for a Caucasian man named Jared. But when he got to the apartment and looked through the peep hole he saw Lau’s Asian boyfriend and decided to leave.
“His name matches a name that the guy or the suspect was looking for,” Lau told the station about her boyfriend.
She claims that after the attempted break-in, investigators told her that Buggs had been looking for men who had been romantically involved with a woman from his past.
Investigators said Friday that there does not appear to be any evidence that Miller had any prior interaction with Buggs before the murders.
Miller and Partch were last seen alive at a bar in Laguna Beach. Miller’s friends reportedly told authorities that she had offered to give Partch a ride home. They would be discovered dead about 20 hours later.
Irvine Police said in a statement that Buggs was suspected of a series of attempted burglaries that occurred that same weekend, first beginning around 11:30 p.m. on the night of April 20. In that attempt, investigators said the suspect was “scared off” after being seen and fired a single round from a handgun as he fled the scene.
The second attempt happened hours later around 5 a.m. on April 21, where surveillance footage captured him attempting to open the front door, police say. He did not gain entry into the home and left.
Buggs was apprehended by police early the morning of April 22 after police spotted a suspicious vehicle. They attempted to pull the car over, but a short chase ensued and Buggs allegedly abandoned the vehicle and ran into a nearby backyard, later breaking into an unoccupied home. He was detained by police around 4 a.m. and was already in custody by the time police announced he was a suspect in the murders of Miller and Partch.
He is expected to be charged Monday with two counts of murder with special circumstance of multiple murders. He is being held on a $1 million bond.
Buggs, who is a convicted felon, also had a court hearing scheduled for next month in a domestic violence case involving a woman who had tried to get a restraining order against him, KABC reports.
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