|For Immediate Release
Case # 12HF1924
July 10, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR SHOOTING-MURDER OF GIRLFRIEND DURING CONFRONTATION
SANTA ANA – A man will be arraigned today for the shooting-murder of his live-in girlfriend during a confrontation. Thomas Michael Wilhelm, 48, Costa Mesa, is facing one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison. Wilhelm is being held on $1 million bail and will be arraigned today, July 10, 2012, in Department CJ-1 Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.
At approximately 6:25 p.m. on July 8, 2012, Wilhelm is accused of entering a neighbor’s home on Redwood Avenue in Costa Mesa to retrieve a handgun without the neighbor’s permission to enter his home or use the handgun. The defendant is accused of returning back to his own home to confront his live-in girlfriend of several years, 45-year-old Christine Murray. The defendant is accused of pulling out the firearm and shooting the victim several times until he ran out of ammunition. He is then accused of returning back to his neighbor’s home, where he found a shotgun and fired one round into the ground.
Costa Mesa Police Department (CMPD) officers, who investigated this case, arrived at the defendant’s home minutes after the initial gunshot in response to third party 911 calls. CMPD officers found the victim with gunshot wounds to her chest. She was rushed to Western Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. CMPD officers recovered the firearm at the scene and arrested the defendant as he was walking back home.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.