Suspect in death of Tustin gym owner makes first court appearance

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A convicted felon is facing trial for the murder of a Tustin boxing club owner. (KABC)

A convicted felon accused of murdering the owner of a Tustin boxing club made his first court appearance Monday on charges that could put him back behind bars for the rest of his life.

Kirk Vernell Price, 53, is accused of shooting and killing Fahness Lutalo last week at the boxing and mixed martial arts gym that Lutalo owned in Tustin. The victim's family believes Price was jealous of his former coach's success and say he was banned from the gym at one point.

Investigators say Price walked into the gym with a handgun in the middle of the day Thursday and fired several times, hitting Lutalo and then fleeing the scene. He turned himself in to Orange County sheriff's deputies the next day.

Officials say Price has an extensive criminal history, including robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and parole violations.

He is facing charges of murder, personal discharge of a firearm causing death and felon in possession of a handgun.

With his criminal history in mind, Lutalo's family and friends asked prosecutors to seek to have bail denied for Price. Ultimately the judge agreed.

Price is due back in court on April 15. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 100 years to life in state prison.

Related Topics:
murdertrialhomicidecourt caseTustinSanta AnaOrange County
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