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DNA led to arrest in Ventura couple murder

April 12, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Detectives announced an arrest in the stabbing murder of a man and his pregnant wife at their beachfront Ventura County home.The Ventura County Sheriff's Department said they've arrested 20-year-old Joshua Graham Packer Sunday. He's being held on three counts of murder and two counts of robbery.

Packer is accused of a brutal crime. Brock and Davina Husted, both 42, were stabbed to death in their Faria Beach home on May 20, 2009.

Their two young children were in another room at the time of the attack but weren't hurt. They ran to a neighbor to call for help.

According to police, the couple's 9-year-old son saw a man confront his mother in the kitchen and ran to his 11-year-old sister, who was asleep.

The suspect, wearing a black motorcycle helmet, simply walked into the home. The sliding-glass door at the rear of the home facing the beach was unlocked.

Davina Husted was stabbed first, and as her husband tried to help her, he was attacked.

Prosecutors consider this to be a triple killing because Davina Husted was five months' pregnant at the time.

This incident frightened residents in the quiet, gated community of Faria Beach. They worried it was a random attack, but a few months ago, investigators said it wasn't. They believed the couple was targeted but wouldn't go far into details regarding the investigation.

However, police did reveal in a Monday news conference that DNA evidence played a role in the arrest. According to court documents, Packer had a recent rash of legal problems including a 2009 armed robbery arrest in Santa Barbara. It was DNA evidence gathered from this robbery that led police to Packer.

"Numerous search warrants and interviews were conducted, and we believe we have in our possession items used the night of May 20, 2009," said Ventura County Sheriff's Captain Gary Pentis.

Records also show that Packer was charged in Ventura County for misdemeanor battery in November and he was also charged with a misdemeanor hit-and-run in December.

Former friends who've known Packer for years and attended Ventura High School with him say that this is not the man they know.

"We went on snowboarding trips with church, and yeah, he has made a few bad decisions in his past. I think we all have, and I just don't see for any second at all that he could actually physically do this," said Ryan Abundis, Packer's friend.

The Husted family says there is now some sense of closure but that justice is still years away.

"This doesn't make sense. You have two people and their baby killed, and we have an individual here and there is no real rhyme nor reason as to why this happened," said Scott Husted, Brock Husted's brother.

Packer is due in court Tuesday, and bail has been set at $2.2 million.


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