Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MAN FACES TRIAL FOR MURDERING FRIEND IN 1988 AND RECENTLY CONSPIRING TO HAVE LEAD DETECTIVE AND WITNESS ASSAULTED FOR $300
SANTA ANA – A Long Beach man faces trial tomorrow for the 1988 cold case stabbing, torture, and murder of his longtime friend. The defendant is also charged with recently conspiring with his girlfriend to solicit the attack of the lead investigator in his homicide case. Paul Gentile Smith, 50, is charged in the murder case with one felony count of special circumstances murder with torture and robbery and a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. In the conspiracy case, he is charged with one felony count each of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, attempted aggravated assault, and two felony counts of solicitation to commit aggravated assault. Smith faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. Opening statements in the murder case are expected to begin tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The conspiracy case charges will be tried at a later date.
Paul Smith’s co-defendant girlfriend, Tina Derae Smith, 47, Mission Viejo, pleaded guilty in this case April 2, 2010, to one felony count of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and was sentenced to 240 days in jail and five years of formal probation.
Circumstances of the Murder
On Oct. 24, 1988, Paul Smith is accused of murdering his long-time high school friend, 29-year-old Robert Haugen. He is accused of stabbing Haugen several times, nearly decapitating him. Paul Smith is accused of leaving Haugen’s body in the victim’s Sunset Beach apartment, 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, Paul Smith was arrested in Nevada for domestic violence. His DNA was later entered into the national DNA database. In late January 2009, Paul Smith’s DNA was linked to the blood found in Haugen’s apartment after the murder using DNA technology that did not exist in 1988. Smith was charged with the murder and extradited back to Orange County in March 2009.
Circumstances of Conspiracy
In November 2009, while in custody for the murder of Haugen, Paul Smith is accused of obtaining a phone number for an undercover police investigator, whom he believed to be a contact that could be paid to assault a civilian witness, Scott M., and the lead detective assigned to his homicide case.
On Nov. 17, 2009, Smith is accused of calling the undercover investigator to request that he “f*** somebody up” in exchange for $300. Paul Smith is accused of providing a detailed description of Scott M., including his cell and home phone numbers, location of his home, and the type of car he drives.