|For Immediate Release
Case # 08CF0613
January 15, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
FORMER FUGITIVE PLEADS GUILTY TO MURDERING ROOMMATE WITH HELP OF GIRLFRIEND TO GAIN ACCESS TO VICTIM’S BANK ACCOUNTS
*Defendant was also convicted in Colorado of attempting to murder police officer while a fugitive in this case
SANTA ANA – A fugitive who fled to Colorado was sentenced today to 25 years to life in prison for murdering his roommate with the help of his girlfriend so that the couple could steal money from the victim’s bank accounts. Nicholas James Vovos, 27, pleaded guilty to one felony count of first degree murder. Vovos’ girlfriend, Debbie Miller, was killed after engaging Colorado police in a shoot-out while a fugitive for this murder.
Between June 13, 2005 and July 31, 2005, Vovos and his girlfriend Miller murdered 62-year-old Carolyn Avdeef in order to gain control of her bank accounts. Vovos moved into the victim’s house with his girlfriend in May 2005 and stole money from Avdeef with Miller by accessing the victim’s bank accounts and taking her debit card and personal identification number. When the victim discovered and confronted Vovos and Miller about stealing money from her bank accounts, Vovos murdered Avdeef by strangling her. Vovos and Miller tied Avdeef’s hands behind her back, bound her ankles and buried her body in a shallow grave in the San Bernardino Mountains.
Avdeef was reported missing on June 22, 2005, by co-workers who became concerned when the victim did not show up for work. The victim’s body was discovered on July 31, 2005, by a hiker who was out walking her dog.
Vovos and Miller fled the State and continued to use the victim’s debit card to withdraw money as they traveled across the country. Police in Colorado located the defendant and Miller after receiving information that the couple may be driving through the state. Vovos and Miller shot at Colorado police when officers attempted to apprehend them. Officers returned fire and Miller was shot and killed. Vovos was convicted in Colorado in 2007 of attempting to murder a police officer and is serving a 38 year sentence in that state. He was brought back to Orange County on May 17, 2008, to face charges for the murder of Avdeef.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.