SANTA ANA - Two men were charged today with murder, and a third defendant with robbery, in connection with a purse snatching that turned deadly when the victim was run over by as a car as the assailants fled the scene.
Gregory Anthony Walker, 19, of Los Angeles, and Giovanni Solomon Guy, 20, of Los Angeles, are both charged with murder, with a special circumstance allegation of murder during the course of a robbery. The charges make them both eligible for the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole at a minimum if they are convicted. The two are also charged with committing crimes while out on bail on an unrelated case.
They are being held without bail pending arraignment, which was rescheduled for May 31 in the jail courtroom in Santa Ana.
Brad M. Brown, 19, of Hawthorne, pleaded not guilty to a second-degree robbery charge. He's being held on $500,000 bail and is scheduled to return to court May 20 for a pretrial hearing at the West Justice Center in Westminster.
Guy was allegedly behind the wheel of the robbery crew's getaway car and Walker is accused of grabbing the victim's purse, said Garden Grove police Lt. Carl Whitney.
Nga Ngoc Nguyen, 32, of Santa Ana, was walking with her sister in a parking lot at 13800 Brookhurst Blvd. about 9:45 a.m. Wednesday when a car pulled alongside them and Walker allegedly tried to wrestle away the victim's purse, Whitney said.
Nguyen's arm became caught in the strap as Walker jumped into the vehicle as it was driving away, according to Whitney. Nguyen was run over by the car and was rushed to an area hospital, where she later died, the lieutenant said.
Walker was already facing charges of burglary and grand theft related for allegedly stealing from a Newport Beach store on Nov. 26. Walker has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
The suspects were under surveillance at the time of the purse snatching by Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives, who trailed them and called Garden Grove police for help, Whitney said. The detectives had earlier informed Garden Grove police that they were conducting surveillance and asked officers to avoid the area, the lieutenant said.
The sheriff's detectives followed the suspects in an unmarked car to the area of the Harbor (110) Freeway and Century Boulevard in South Los Angeles, where the three suspects jumped out and tried to flee on foot, but were quickly apprehended, Whitney said.
Detectives recovered some evidence at the scene, he said.
During the pursuit, the suspects appeared to throw evidence onto the Garden Grove (22) Freeway, so police briefly closed the roadway to conduct a search, Whitney said.