Man charged in 1987 Pasadena slaying

PASADENA — Twenty-three years after Vincent Mejia was fatally shot in a robbery at his Pasadena grocery store, prosecutors Friday charged a man with the killing, authorities said.
Richard Curtis Morris Jr., 56, of Pearl City, Hawaii, and a second man who has never been identified, are accused of shooting the 64-year-old Mejia during a May 15, 1987, robbery at his store, the Manor Market, 2540 E. Colorado Blvd., Orange County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Farrah Emami said in a written statement.
“Morris and his accomplice are accused of demanding money from a clerk standing near the cash register,” Emami said. “When store owner Vincent Mejia tried to intervene, Morris and the second man are accused of murdering him by shooting him in the chest.”
The robbers held a knife to the throat of Mejia’s sister-in-law and were beating his brother with a pistol when he stepped in, witnesses said at the time.
Mejia died at a hospital 18 days after the shooting — six months before he was expecting to retire at age 65, according to officials and family members.
More than 1,500 people attended Mejia’s funeral.
Morris was jailed 10 days after the shooting but later released due to lack of evidence, police said in 1987.
He was convicted in 1988 of a weapons charge for possessing the gun believed to have been used in Mejia’s killing, Emami said, but murder charges were never filed.
His arrest in the Pasadena case came after Morris was charged in 2008 with the 1987 Buena Park murder of strip club owner James Stockwell, also known as Jimmy Casino, she said.
He was linked to the Stockwell case via the national DNA database after he submitted a DNA sample in Hawaii in connection with an unrelated case in that state.
“After filing charges against Morris for the murder of Stockwell, the OCDA began re-investigating the murder of Mejia,” Emami said. “The amended complaint charging Morris with that murder was lodged (Friday).”
Mejia began working at the Manor Market in 1951. He bought the store from his boss in 1967.
Friends and family members said in 1987 that he was known for giving generous credit to customers and for delivering groceries to the sick and elderly at no charge.

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  • A Vaughn

    While I know it will not make much of a difference in handling this piece of garbage scum-bag, and while I know Mr. Mejia would find it in his heart to forgive this poor excuse for a man; had he survived. I frankly, am not that forgiving and hope justice will be served behind bars where he can meet his maker at the hands of another scumbag. He deserves nothing more in this life, and hope he rots in hell in the afterlife.

    He has no idea that he took away a wonderful, and caring human being who was well loved in his community, and passionately devoted to his family.

    The irony to this is that had that scumbag approached him asking or needing money, Mr. Mejia would have gladly given it to him!