Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MARINE SENTENCED TO OVER 28 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR MURDERING FELLOW MARINE IN DISPUTE OVER STOLEN DRUG MONEY
*Co-defendant is awaiting trial in this case
SANTA ANA – A Marine was sentenced today to 28 years and eight months to life in state prison for shooting and murdering a fellow Marine in a secluded area of San Clemente over a dispute about stolen drug money. Christian William Carney, 25, Manorville, NY, was stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton (Camp Pendleton) at the time of the crime and was found guilty by a jury Dec. 20, 2011, of one felony count of murder, one felony count of criminal threats and one felony count of attempting to dissuade a witness.
Co-defendant Alvin Reed Lovely, 24, Dallas, Texas, also a Marine at Camp Pendleton at the time of the crime, is charged with one felony count of murder, one felony count of criminal threats, and a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a firearm. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 38 years to life in state prison. He is scheduled for a pre-trial trial setting conference May 18, 2012, in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Carney was found guilty and Lovely is accused of the following:
While stationed at Camp Pendleton, Carney was a drug dealer who sold cocaine and ecstasy. During the weekend of May 9, 2008, Carney drove to Texas to pick up Lovely, who had gone home for a visit and needed a ride back to the base. While Carney was gone, 20-year-old Stephen Serrano and his friend, Chad Hatch, broke into Carney’s room and stole his drug money.
When the defendants returned from Texas, a witness told them that he had seen Carney’s friend, Hatch, breaking into Carney’s room. The witness did not identify Serrano.
On May 13, 2008, the defendants drove Hatch to a secluded area in San Clemente, pointed a firearm at his head, and threatened to kill him if he did not tell them who had helped him steal the drug money from Carney’s room. The victim, fearing for his life, told them it had been Serrano.
The defendants drove Hatch back to Camp Pendleton and called Serrano using Hatch’s phone. They left Hatch at the base and instructed Serrano to leave the base with them. Carney and Lovely drove Serrano to a secluded area in San Clemente and shot him one time in the face and three times in the back. After murdering the victim, the defendants left the body and fled the scene.
After the murder but prior to the discovery of the victim’s body, Carney met with Hatch and instructed him not to talk to anybody about what they had done to Serrano. Serrano’s body was discovered by a jogger on May 15, 2008.