|For Immediate Release
Case # 09CF0579
June 16, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
HIGH SCHOOL FRIEND EXTRADITED TO ORANGE COUNTY FROM NEVADA FOR 1988 COLD CASE STABBING-MURDER OF DRUG DEALER
AFTER DNA BLOOD MATCH
SANTA ANA – A Long Beach man was extradited yesterday to Orange County from Nevada on charges of stabbing and murdering his high school friend, a drug dealer, and setting the body on fire to destroy the evidence in 1988. Paul Gentile Smith, 49, is charged with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon and faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison if convicted. The defendant is being held on $1 million bail in this case, but is ineligible for bail as he is currently serving a five year prison sentence in Nevada. Smith is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Wednesday, June 17, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana. The Department is to be assigned.
On Oct. 24, 1988, Smith is accused of murdering his high school friend, marijuana-dealer Robert Haugen, 29, in the victim’s Sunset Beach apartment. He is accused of stabbing Haugen multiple times, leaving the body on the bed, setting the victim’s body and apartment on fire to destroy the evidence, and fleeing the scene. Firefighters were able to put out the fire before it completely consumed the apartment and Haugen’s body. Blood belonging to the victim and an unknown second person was collected at the scene. The case was investigated but went cold.
In 2007, Smith was arrested in Nevada for domestic violence. His DNA was later entered into the national DNA database. In late January 2009, Smith’s DNA was linked to the blood found in Haugen’s apartment after the murder. The DNA technology used to link Smith to the murder did not exist in 1988. Smith was charged Friday, March 6, 2009, with the murder of Haugen and was extradited to Orange County yesterday.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.