Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
District Attorney files charges
against three for special circumstances murder FOR FINANCIAL GAIN of 55-year-old man after following victim home from
Hawaiian gardens casino
*An arrest warrant has been issued for one of the defendants
SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney filed charges today against two men and a woman for the special circumstances murder for financial gain of a 55-year-old man after following the victim home from Hawaiian Gardens Casino to rob him of $10,000 in gambling winnings. Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) coordinated the investigation of this case with assistance from the Hawaiian Gardens Casino. Tad Allen Carroll, 41, formerly of Buena Park, Barbara Ann Hamel, 47, and Michael William Ross, 26, both of Long Beach, are all charged with one felony count each of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery, second degree robbery, and attempted second degree robbery. Ross and Carroll are each additionally charged with one felony count of second degree robbery. If convicted, each defendant faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. The People will be requesting that Carroll and Hamel be held without bail at their arraignment in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The date and time are to be determined early next week. A media advisory will be issued with that information upon its availability. An arrest warrant has been issued for Ross.
Circumstances of the Los Angeles Robbery
In the early morning hours of June 18, 2010, Ross is accused of entering the Hawaiian Gardens Casino (Casino) in Los Angeles and surveying winning gamblers with the intention of robbing them after they left the Casino with co-defendant Carroll. Ross is accused of watching Ki Lee closely as he was gambling. Lee later visited the Casino’s cashier window to cash in his chips and left the Casino with approximately $5,000 in cash. Ross is accused of contacting and informing Carroll of Lee’s winnings. Carroll is accused of following the victim to his home. Upon arriving at the victim’s home, Carroll is accused of approaching Lee with what appeared to be a gun and robbing him. The defendant is accused of fleeing the scene. Lee reported the incident to the LASD.
Circumstances of the Orange County Murder
In the early morning on Sept. 3, 2010, Ross is accused of entering the Casino and surveying winning gamblers with the intention of robbing them after they left the Casino. Co-defendants Carroll and Hamel are accused of waiting in a Pontiac Grand Prix outside the Casino with the intention of robbing winning gamblers that Ross was watching. Ross is accused of closely watching 55-year-old Chi Bui who had been winning while gambling with his friend Kim Nguyen. At approximately 4:00 a.m., Bui went to the Casino’s cashier window, cashed in his chip winnings having over $10,000 in cash, and left the Casino with Nguyen. Ross is accused of following the victims out of the Casino and making a phone call to Carroll and Hamel.
Carroll and Hamel are accused of driving and following Bui, who was driving Nguyen to her Santa Ana home. Carroll and Hamel are accused of blocking-in Bui’s car after he stopped alongside the curb in front of Nguyen’s home. Carroll is accused of getting out of the vehicle, approaching the victims, and pointing a knife at them to steal their winnings. He is accused of knocking Bui to the ground and getting back into the Grand Prix. Hamel is accused of driving over Bui’s head, killing him instantly, and then fleeing the scene with Carroll. Nguyen called 911.