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Culver City double-murder suspect arrested

Zackariah Timothy Lehnen was arrested for the murder of two people found dead in a Culver City home Monday.

May 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A suspect was arrested for the murder of two people found dead in a Culver City home Monday. A 31-year-old transient is behind bars, accused of killing 27-year-old Erica Escobar and 89-year-old Lucien Bergez. Investigators are trying to establish a motive for the killings.

The suspect, Zackariah Timothy Lehnen, someone how struck up a relationship with his victims some time ago, then allegedly killed them.

A housekeeper found the bodies Monday morning at the home on Huron Avenue. Culver City Police say the cause of death has not been determined.

The homeowner was Lucien George Bergez, a native of France and a World War II veteran. Santa Monica resident Erica Eveyly Escobar was visiting.

"It is our belief that this was not a random crime. The investigation has led us to believe that the suspect was known to both victims. At this time, the nature of those relationships are not completely known, however," said Culver City Police Chief Donald Pedersen.

Neighbors say they never saw the young woman, but there is word that Bergez was seen in a suspicious situation.

"One of the neighbors remembered seeing the elderly man at an ATM with a younger man and thought that was strange," said Julie Stone, a neighbor.

Another neighbor remembers a man washing Bergez's car, a car he had long ago stopped using. It is information the police want to do know more about and are asking for the public's help.

"We just know that they've been seen together, and we've proven that through evidence that we've collected," said Pedersen.

Lehnen had previous arrests for domestic violence, drugs and robbery and was on parole. He was living in a West Hollywood alley when investigators caught him.

Anyone with information related to the case is asked to contact Culver City Police at (310) 253-6309.

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