|For Immediate Release
Case # 11CF2914
November 22, 2013
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
LAS VEGAS MAN CONVICTED OF 1995 COLD CASE MURDEROF FEMALE ROOMMATE
SANTA ANA – A Las Vegas man was convicted today of the 1995 cold case murder of his former roommate. Raymundo Gutierrez Pereda, 72, Las Vegas, NV, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of murder and faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison at his sentencing Jan. 31, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-34, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In 1995, Pereda lived in 53-year-old Mary Ann O’Neil’s Placentia house as a roommate. A month before O’Neil was murdered, Pereda told her he had secured a job in Utah and moved out of her house. Pereda left to Utah but returned to Orange County shortly thereafter and stayed at his girlfriend’s Anaheim house.
On Nov. 15, 1995, O’Neil left work with her boyfriend and drove to a Brea restaurant for dinner. They left the restaurant and O’Neil drove her boyfriend home. She left his home at 3:00 a.m. the next day and returned to her house. She was never seen alive again.
Early on Nov. 16, 1995, Pereda entered O’Neil’s house and attacked and murdered her. He stuffed her body in the trunk of her car, drove to a nearby Placentia commercial shopping center on Kraemer Boulevard, and left the locked car in the parking lot. Pereda did not return to his girlfriend’s Anaheim house that night.
On the morning of Nov. 16, 1995, the victim did not pick-up her boyfriend to carpool to work, as was her custom. O’Neil’s boyfriend began to worry when O’Neil did not show up or call in to work. He contacted O’Neil’s daughter.
At approximately 11:00 a.m. on Nov. 16, 1995, O’Neil’s daughter walked into the Placentia Police Department (PPD) to report her mother missing.
At approximately 2:00 a.m. on Nov. 17, 1995, a PPD officer found O’Neil’s vehicle parked and locked with the victim’s body in the trunk.
PPD investigated this case. During the investigation, early on Nov. 19, 1995, PPD detectives visited Pereda at his girlfriend’s Anaheim home. Pereda fled the house through the back door and due to the darkness and fog, Pereda was able to escape. Pereda fled California to hide from law enforcement and eventually assumed an alias of Efren C. Castro.