|For Immediate Release
March 1, 2007
Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
MAN CONVICTED OF MURDERING GIRLFRIEND
BY INTENTIONALLY INJECTING HER WITH
LETHAL DOSE OF COCAINE
SANTA ANA – A Garden Grove man was convicted yesterday of murdering his girlfriend by injecting her with a lethal dose of cocaine in her Laguna Niguel home. Shawn Lawrence Putansu, 29, was convicted of murder and the special circumstance of murder by poisoning and faces a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole. He is scheduled to be sentenced Friday, May 18, 2007 at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In the early morning of May 21, 2005, Putansu intentionally injected his girlfriend, Melissa Mitchell, with a lethal dose of cocaine at her home in Laguna Niguel. The victim, a 30-year-old criminal defense attorney, had recently purchased a home in Orange County, but had also maintained an apartment in Los Angeles. After murdering Mitchell, Putansu left the victim floating face down in the hot tub, and then took her car and drove to her apartment in Los Angeles. Once he arrived and after taking cocaine and heroin, Putansu climbed to the roof of Mitchell’s apartment building, took off his clothes, and threatened to jump.
When police arrived, Putansu told them he wanted to make some phone calls and was given a cell phone. Standing naked on top of the building, Putansu placed multiple phone calls, one to an ex-girlfriend living in Maine whom he had met in Alcoholics Anonymous. He left his ex-girlfriend a message stating that he had purposely murdered his girlfriend and was planning to kill himself as well.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Steve McGreevy of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.