For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
HAWAII MAN FACES TRIAL FOR 1987 COLD-CASE MURDER OF STRIP CLUB OWNER
SANTA ANA – A Hawaii man faces trial Monday for murdering a strip club owner in 1987. Richard Curtis Morris, Jr., 59, formerly of Pearl City, HI, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder in the commission of robbery, murder in the commission of rape, and murder for financial gain. If convicted on all counts, the defendant faces a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Opening statements are expected to begin Monday, April 15, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
At approximately 11:00 p.m. on Jan. 2, 1987, Morris and an unidentified second man are accused of entering the Buena Park home of strip club owner James Stockwell. Morris and his accomplice are accused of binding and raping a female friend of Stockwell, who was in the home and did not know either of her attackers. The defendant is accused of murdering Stockwell, who was shot in the head. Morris and his accomplice are accused of stealing the victims’ personal items, including jewelry and credit cards.
The Buena Park Police Department collected evidence at the scene, but DNA technology was not available at that time and the case went cold. In early 2008, Morris’ DNA was linked to the 1987 rape through the national DNA database, where his DNA had been submitted stemming from an unrelated case in Hawaii. The Orange County District Attorney filed murder charges on May 27, 2008. Due to the statute of limitations, rape charges could not be filed.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Michael Murray of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.