|For Immediate Release
Case # 05CF3043
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
UNCLE CONVICTED OF STABBING AND MURDERING 11-YEAR-OLD NIECE IN LAGUNA NIGUEL HOME
SANTA ANA – An uncle was convicted today of murdering his 11-year-old niece by stabbing her 35 times in the chest after becoming angry with his sister, the victim’s mom. William Orren Dawes, 29, Laguna Niguel, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of murder with a true finding on the sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. He faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in prison. As the defendant pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, the trial will now move to the sanity phase. The sanity phase is scheduled to begin Monday, Sep. 15, 2008, at 10:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In September 2005, Dawes was living with his mother and niece, Sonia Dawes, in his mother’s two-bedroom Laguna Niguel home. His mother had custody of his 11-year-old niece, who was his sister, Lorraine Dawes’, daughter. On Sep. 20, 2005, Dawes’ sister, Lorraine, unexpectedly arrived at the house. As a result, the sleeping arrangements were changed and Dawes had to give up his bedroom for the night and sleep on the couch. Lorraine and Sonia were going to share one room and Dawes’ mother took the other.
That evening, Dawes went with his sister to a nearby party. Later that night, Dawes became angry because he was unable to find his sister because she had left the party. He called her cell phone demanding to know where she had gone and then hung up on her after she said she had been at a nearby gas station.
Shortly after midnight on Sep. 21, 2005, Dawes returned to the home and went into Sonia’s bedroom with a 15-inch knife that had a 10-inch blade. He stabbed his niece 35 times in the chest, killing her. Dawes then fled the scene.
Dawes’ mother woke up at approximately 12:30 a.m. and went to check on Sonia. She discovered her granddaughter, murdered, covered in blood in her bed. Dawes’ mother called 9-1-1 and Sonia was taken to Mission Hospital, where she pronounced dead. Sonia had just started 6th grade at her new school, Don Juan Avila Middle School in Aliso Viejo.
Dawes was located at approximately 3:00 a.m. in Irvine by the Irvine Police Department near Alton Parkway and Technology Drive. He was wearing a knit cap and gloves and was found in possession of the bloody knife he had used to murder Sonia.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Steve McGreevy of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.