Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
JURY RECOMMENDS DEATH FOR MAN CONVICTED
OF STABBING AND MURDERING WOMAN IN TRAILER NEAR CHURCH AFTER SEXUAL ASSAULT
SANTA ANA – A jury recommended today that a man be sentenced to the death penalty for sexually assaulting, stabbing and murdering a woman in a trailer across from a church after meeting her when she got off a train in Fullerton. Steve Carl Evans, 61, Fullerton, was found guilty on July 22, 2008, of special circumstances murder during the commission of attempted rape and the commission of sexual penetration with a foreign object by force, attempted forcible rape, and sexual penetration by foreign object by force. The sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon was found true. Evans is a second striker with a prior 1983 conviction for forcible rape. He is scheduled to be sentenced, Oct. 24, 2008, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-42, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
At approximately 1:00 a.m. on Aug. 19, 2003, Evans met Jeannette Elias, 24, after she got off a train in Fullerton. The defendant did not know the victim. He took Elias to a travel-trailer where he had been living in Fullerton, which was parked on a lot adjacent to a church. Evans sexually assaulted the victim and attempted to rape her before stabbing her over 22 times with several different knifes, including a meat cleaver and a butcher knife. He then left the victim’s body in his trailer and fled to his parents’ La Mirada home.
Officers contacted the defendant the day of the murder at his parents’ home. Officers discovered the victim’s body that day in Evans’ trailer. The victim was found fully clothed, but there was evidence of sexual assault. Elias’ hard plastic driver’s license was found folded into fifths inside her vagina and DNA from Evan’s saliva was found on the victim’s breasts.
During the penalty phase of the trial, Elias’ parents, brother, and sister testified about losing a loved one and the difficulty of having to see the victim, who was disfigured from the attack by Evans, during the viewing at her funeral. The People also showed a video to the jury in which Elias, then 15, looked directly into the camera and spoke with tears in her eyes about how much she loved her family and how she regretted any trouble she had caused them.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.