The Edmond Sun

State News

January 6, 2014

Edmond investigation leads to murder charges

Preliminary hearing set for this month

EDMOND — Two suspects face murder charges in the death of a man whose body was discovered in Edmond along Interstate 35, court records show.

Police have been quiet about the investigation and court proceedings in the case until Monday, when Jenny Monroe, spokeswoman for the Edmond Police Department, released the names of three suspects in the death of Leopoldo Mejia, aka Jose Mejia-Serranto and Jose Ramirez.

Monroe said the local investigation, in which detectives had no official identification to go on, only phone numbers written on the inside of a belt, has been completed. She said the department was glad to find answers and now will follow the case in the court system.

On Feb. 1, 2013, Oklahoma County prosecutors filed first-degree murder charges against Miguel Angel Garcia, 30, address unknown, and Victor Manuel Santamaria Garcia, 26, listed as homeless, according to court records.

Edgardo Garcia, 23, address unknown, faces an accessory after the fact of first-degree murder charge, according to court records.

No defense attorney contact information was listed in court records. All three defendants have appeared in court and entered a plea of not guilty. All three men are being held in the Oklahoma County jail without bond. They are scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing Jan. 31.

CASE BACKGROUND

In an affidavit of probable cause filed in Oklahoma County District Court, Edmond Police Detective Misty Spence stated that at 5:15 a.m. Dec. 1, 2012, she was notified by dispatch about the discovery of a body along Interstate 35 between Danforth and Covell.

Spence stated that when she arrived, she found the victim lying on the shoulder of the highway, and a black plastic bag was covering the bottom half of his body.

The victim had multiple stab wounds to the chest and neck area, the affidavit stated. Due to the lack of blood at the scene, it appeared he was killed in another location and dropped off there, the affidavit stated. The victim had no ID, but did have $700 in cash lying underneath his body.

The victim’s fingerprints were sent to federal immigration personnel who identified him as Leopoldo Mejia, aka Jose Mejia-Serranto and Jose Ramirez, the affidavit stated. They reported the victim had been deported out of New Orleans to Honduras.

Several phone numbers were written on the back of the victim’s belt; one was a 405 area code, the other 504, the affidavit stated.

Spence called the 504 number and aided by a translator spoke with Manuel Murillo, a Maryland resident, the affidavit stated. He was a friend of a man in Oklahoma named Leopoldo Mejia, who had lived in the state four to five months, the affidavit stated.

Manuel said he had been getting phone calls from Leopoldo’s family in Honduras who were concerned because they had not heard from him for several days, the affidavit stated. Manuel said he would be able to help with contacting Leopoldo’s family in Honduras, the affidavit stated.

Several days later, with the help of an FBI linguist, Spence was able to call Manuel back, and he provided a phone number for Leopoldo’s ex-father-in-law, the affidavit stated.

In Honduras, an FBI attaché helped investigators talk to relatives who helped them reach Miguel Santamaria who lived in the country, the affidavit stated. He has two sons who were living with Leopoldo in Oklahoma: Victor Manuel Santamaria Garcia and Miguel Santamaria Garcia, the affidavit stated. He was told Edgardo Garcia also lived with them.

Miguel Santamaria told the ex-father-in-law he had talked to his sons, and that he told him the three of them murdered Leopoldo after getting into an argument, the affidavit stated.

After hearing this, the ex-father-in-law said, he called Edgardo Garcia to confront him, and Edgardo confessed to killing Leopoldo, the affidavit stated.

Edgardo said they were all drinking at the apartment  when an argument occurred, which led to the stabbing by himself, Miguel Santamaria Garcia and Victor Manuel Santamaria Garcia, the affidavit stated. Edgardo said they then disposed of Leopoldo’s body, the affidavit stated.

Through unspecified investigative techniques, it was found that Leopoldo’s phone was still being used or at least was still active; it was checking to a location in Louisiana, the affidavit stated.

Spence contacted the Louisiana State Police, where a member of a U.S. Marshal Fugitive Task Force was able to interview the suspects living in an apartment in Gretna, La., the affidavit stated. Leopoldo’s phone was found in the apartment, the affidavit stated.

All five residents were found to be living in the country illegally and detained by federal immigration personnel, Spence stated.

Authorities also found a money gram for $300 sent from a vacant Oklahoma City rent house, one of two where several Hispanic renters had left suddenly the first week of December, the affidavit stated. The victim’s name was written on a microwave found in one of the rent homes, the affidavit stated.

Text Only
State News
  • sales tax holiday.jpg Oklahoma sales tax takes a holiday

    Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 1 and ending at midnight Aug. 3, Oklahomans will be able to participate in a sales tax holiday giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain clothing and shoes free of sales tax.
    Yes, retailers may not charge tax, including state and local sales taxes on items that are tax-exempt during the sales tax holiday weekend. The sales of clothing and shoes priced at less than $100 are exempted from sales taxes.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • MS_new pastor_Page_1.tiff Local church welcomes new pastor

    For one of Edmond’s newest pastors, faith and family intersect on a personal level.
    Sam Powers, pastor at Edmond 1st United Methodist Church, 305 E. Hurd St., and his family arrived in mid-May and his first Sunday in the pulpit was the second one in June. He and his wife Sheryl Heaton Powers, have two children — Kyla will be an eighth-grader at Cheyenne Middle School and David will be a fifth-grader at John Ross Elementary.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • pm_Ramona Paul.jpg Keith, 5 others to receive service awards

    The 2014 Door-Opener Awards Gala dinner and silent auction Sept. 4, benefitting ASTEC Charter Schools, will recognize five outstanding Oklahomans and one Kansan for lifetime contributions made toward helping others in society maximize potential and achieve dreams.
    Those selected to receive a Door-Opener Award at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel event include Dr. Harvey Dean, Pittsburg, Kan.; Toby Keith and Tricia Covel, Norman; Former Gov. George P. Nigh, Edmond; the late Dr. Ramona Paul, Edmond; and Natalie Shirley, Oklahoma City.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Anderson Properties continues to grow

    Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties recently announced the acquisition of Tulsa-based Prudential Alliance Realty, an eight-office, 150-agent brokerage operating in Tulsa and Oklahoma City and Edmond.
    The transaction gives Anderson Properties, a full-service real estate agency a total of 38 offices and more than 600 agents.

    July 28, 2014

  • police car.jpg Enid man injured following pursuit

    Larry Lynn Edwards was taken to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center following the 11:32 p.m. crash on 30th Street, just north of Fox Drive, with head and internal body injuries.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Texas man critical after ATV crash

    Edward Alan Bourland, 37, of San Angelo, Texas, was taken from the scene of the 3 p.m. collision by Eagle Med and flown to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City.

    July 26, 2014

  • Logan County pays off jail tax early, seeks new one

    Logan County is paying off a sales tax ahead of schedule and needs a new one to be able to afford funding jail operation and maintenance, officials said.
    Citizens vote on the county sales tax which is split for redistribution by state law. The tax is collected by the Oklahoma Tax Commission and redistributed back to the county as specified by voters.
    In 2005, citizens passed a 10-year sales tax, scheduled to end next month, to fund the building, operation and maintenance of the county jail, which operates on a $1.3 million budget. Jail capacity is 188 without anyone in a holding cell or a temporary bunk. Thursday it was holding 130 inmates, said Logan County Chief Deputy Richard Stephens.

    July 26, 2014

  • MS_Andy Billups.jpg Local man relies on experience in July 4 emergency

    Andy Billups just happened to have gained experience as a combat zone firefighter/medic while he was serving as a civilian contractor in Iraq.
    The Edmond businessman just happened to have a friend with a place on Grand Lake where he has been viewing Independence Day fireworks for a number of years, and he just happened to be there July 4.
    And he just happened to be relaxing on a hammock when he heard a some kids making a commotion.
    Located two blocks east of Disney on State Highway 28 in the foothills of the Ozark Mountain Range in northeast Oklahoma, the 59,000-plus surface acre Grand Lake is known for its state parks, marinas, restaurants, motels and fishing.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Goo Goo.jpg The Goo Goo Dolls: A long way from making racket

    Group in concert with Doughtry and Plain White T's Aug. 5 at the Enid Event Center

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Navy Honor_1_BV.jpg ‘She’s my rock’: Family honors sailor who goes beyond service

    Kimberly Henry has a job in Navy intelligence and beyond that, has committed to hundreds of hours of volunteer work throughout her tours of duty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo