|For Immediate Release
Case # 07CF1991
March 2, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
APARTMENT MANAGER WHO STOLE RENT FROM TENANTS CONVICTED OF MURDERING PROPERTY MANAGER WHO DISCOVERED THE THEFT
*Defendant is scheduled to be sentenced this afternoon
SANTA ANA – An apartment manager was convicted today of murdering the property manager of his complex after the victim discovered that the defendant had been stealing rent money from tenants. Douglas Wendel Mireles, 42, Yorba Linda, pleaded guilty to the court to one felony count of first degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a firearm. He is scheduled to be sentenced to 28 years to life in prison this afternoon, Monday, March 2, 2009, at 1:30 p.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The family of the victim will have the opportunity to make victim impact statements.
In March 1994, Mireles worked as the on-site manager of the Parc Square Apartment Complex in Santa Ana. Philip Cousins, 44, worked for a property management company. A few years prior to the murder, Mireles was stealing and keeping rent money paid by tenants and not sending it to the property management company. Cousins discovered the theft and made Mireles pay the money back, but allowed him to continue managing the property.
On March 4, 1994, Cousins went to the Parc Square complex to meet with Mireles. Mireles took Cousins into a storage room in an underground garage and shot him in the chest and the back of the head with a .32-caliber semi automatic firearm. Cousins’ murdered body was found three days later in the trunk of his car, which was parked in a business parking lot.
While it was known in 1994 that Mireles owned a .32-caliber semi automatic weapon, investigators were unable to match it to the crime at that time because the barrel of the firearm had been drilled out. In 2006, a firearms expert from the Santa Ana Police Department began re-examining the case and was able to link Mireles’ gun to the murder using new technology.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.