By LARRY WELBORN / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Christian William Carney, 25, of Manorville, N.Y., who was stationed at Camp Pendleton, is charged with murder, criminal threats, attempting to dissuade a witness and a sentencing enhancement for using a gun.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 53 years and eight months to life in prison
Co-defendant Alvin Reed Lovely, 24, of Dallas, also a Marine at Camp Pendleton, faces trial at a later date on murder, criminal threats, plus using a gun. He faces 38 years to life if convicted.
Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh contends Carney was a cocaine and Ecstasy dealer at Camp Pendleton who went to Texas on the weekend of May 9, 2008, to pick up Lovely.
While Carney was gone, Stephen Serrano, 20, and his friend, Chad Hatch, broke into Carney’s room and stole his drug money, according to a new release from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
When Carney and Lovely returned from Texas, a witness told them he saw Hatch breaking into Carney’s room, prosecutors said. The witness did not identify Serrano.
Carney and Lovely later drove Hatch to a secluded area in San Clemente on May 13, 2008, pointed a gun at his head and threatened to kill him if he did not tell them who helped steal the drug money from Carney’s room, prosecutors said. Hatch, fearing for his life, gave up Serrano.
The defendants are accused of returning to the base, luring Serrano outside to a meeting, and then driving to a secluded area in San Clemente near the end of Calle Cordillera.
Carney then shot Serrano once in the face and three times in the back, prosecutors said.
Serrano’s body, dressed in desert fatigues and military boots, was discovered in a ditch by a jogger on May 15, 2008. He was a radio operator who joined the Marines in March 2007, according to news accounts.
Superior Court Judge William Froeberg is presiding over the jury trial.
Staff writer Kimberly Edds contributed to this report.
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