|For Immediate Release
Case # 12ZF0154
November 7, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN TO BE ARRAIGNED ON INDICTMENT FOR SHOOTING-MURDER OF GIRLFRIEND
SANTA ANA – A man will be arraigned tomorrow on an indictment for the shooting-murder of his live-in girlfriend during a confrontation. Thomas Michael Wilhelm, 48, Costa Mesa, was indicted by the grand jury Oct. 31, 2012. He 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 will be arraigned tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
The Orange County District Attorney released a press release July 10, 2012, with the following information on the Wilhelm case:
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 Jim Mendelson of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.