|For Immediate Release
Septemeber 13, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
OCDA TO OPPOSE PAROLE OF INMATE CONVICTED OF 1983 ATTEMPTED MURDER OF EX-GIRLFRIEND AND MURDER OF HER HUSBAND
SANTA ANA – Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas is opposing the parole of an inmate convicted of the 1983 murder of his ex-girlfriend’s husband and attempted murder of the ex-girlfriend. Ivan Von Staich, 55, is currently being held at California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo, CA. Staich was found guilty of one felony count each of second degree murder, attempted murder, and sentencing enhancements for the use of a deadly weapon and inflicting great bodily injury, and was sentenced May 23, 1986, to 30 years to life in state prison. This case was originally prosecuted by former Deputy District Attorney Richard King. Staich is scheduled for a parole hearing tomorrow, Sept. 14, 2011, at 10:30 a.m., at the prison before the Board of Parole Hearings, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ray Armstrong will attend the hearing to oppose Staich’s parole.
Murder of Robert Topper and Attempted Murder of Cynthia Topper
At approximately 1:00 a.m. on Dec. 8, 1983, then-27-year-old Staich arrived at the home of his ex-girlfriend Cynthia Topper, who by then was married to Robert Topper. He cut the outside telephone wires with his pliers and kicked open the front door. Staich was wearing gloves and was armed with two hammers when he entered the house and walked to the master bedroom. He struck Cynthia Topper before she ran to the kitchen. Robert Topper was armed with a gun and fired at Staich, hitting him and severing one of his fingers. Staich attacked Robert Topper, took the gun away, and repeatedly bludgeoned him with a hammer. While Robert Topper lay on the ground face down, Staich shot him five times, hitting him in the head, chest, and neck at close range.
Staich then ran to the kitchen looking for Cynthia Topper and took the gun from her, which she had to protect herself. He pistol whipped her and shot her in the uterus, eliminating her ability to bear children. He then fled the scene to a neighboring house and sought help for his wounds.
Before the December 1983 murder and attempted murder, Staich had dated Cynthia Topper. In June 1983, while a parolee, Staich struck her and threatened to kill her, hitting her in the jaw with his fists. She had to plead for her life and tell him she loved him to make him stop. After she reported the incident to Staich’s halfway house, he threatened to kill her again. Later that month, Staich broke into Cynthia Topper’s home and stole some photographs. He also started calling and harassing Robert Topper. Due to the threats and harassment, Staich’s parole was revoked. On Nov. 17, 1983, he was released but told to stay away from the Toppers.
Criminal History and Lack of Rehabilitation
The inmate has a criminal history which shows an escalating pattern of violence. He hasn’t taken responsibility for the crime and lacks insight into his criminal conduct. Given that the murder took place after Staich was released from state prison and ordered to stay away from the victim, it shows that the inmate poses a danger to society.