Home / World / Man guilty of manslaughter of Fox executive who was beaten and buried in the desert – Los Angeles Times

Man guilty of manslaughter of Fox executive who was beaten and buried in the desert – Los Angeles Times

A Los Angeles jury convicted a drug dealer Monday of voluntary manslaughter in the beating death of his wife’s lover — a 20th Century Fox executive whose body was found in the desert more than two years after he disappeared.

The jury, however, found John Creech not guilty of more serious charges, including first- and second-degree murder.

Prosecutors say Creech beat Gavin Smith to death after catching him in a romantic tryst with Creech’s wife. Smith and Chandrika Cade began an on-and-off affair in 2008 when, prosecutors, say they met at a drug rehab facility.

Creech, 44, stashed Smith’s bloody car in a self-storage unit in Simi Valley and buried Smith’s body in a shallow grave outside Palmdale. Hikers stumbled upon his bones more than two years after he disappeared on May 1, 2012.

A juror who spoke with The Times outside the courthouse said he did consider Smith’s infidelity a factor in deliberating, saying he viewed the victim’s actions — especially his decision to rekindle the affair with Cade after getting caught — as “playing with fire.”

The juror, who asked to be identified only as a 70-year-old mechanic from Los Angeles, said it was helpful to hear testimony directly from Creech.

“It made him believable,” the juror said, adding that he did not agree with the prosecution’s theory of a countdown to murder.

“I don’t think he plotted,” the juror said of Creech.

A few minutes later, the juror dropped his head in his hands, as if overwhelmed. The faces of everyone involved in the case — Gavin and Lisa Smith, John Creech, the witnesses — will forever be etched in his mind, he said.

“This was a terrible thing that happened,” the juror said. “It ruined lives.”

marisa.gerber@latimes.com

Twitter: @marisagerber


UPDATES:

1:55 p.m.:This article was updated with additional comments from the prosecutor and a juror.

This article was originally published at 11:35 a.m.

Source: world

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