LOS ANGELES - A San Fernando Valley man has been sentenced to 11 years in prison on Tuesday for killing a 20th Century Fox distribution executive who was having an on-again, off-again affair with his estranged wife.
John Lenzie Creech, 44, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for the May 2012 beating death of Gavin Smith, who was missing for 2 1/2 years before his remains were found in a shallow grave in the Angeles National Forest in the Antelope Valley.
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In May 2012, a violent fight broke out between the two men after Creech discovered his estranged wife, Chandrika Cade, and Smith having a romantic rendezvous inside Smith's Mercedes-Benz sedan. The county coroner testified that Smith's skull had been crushed on both sides.
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Creech had argued on the stand that he acted in self-defense, and that Smith had come at him with a shiny object. He said he later threw away that object. He also claimed Smith had choked him and tried to gouge his eyes out.
He also told the jury that as an ex-con - who is currently serving time for dealing drugs - he panicked. Instead of calling 911 afterward, he hid Smith's car and buried his body in the forest.
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But prosecutor Bobby Grace said Creech lied about many details of the night, including searching for his drunk wife and that Smith was intruding on Creech's marriage.
Prosecutors also said Creech rented a storage locker to hide the executive's car.
Witnesses testified the defendant and Cade had called it quits before Smith's death. They also claimed Creech, a bodybuilder, retreated into the arms of a high school student he was romantically involved with after allegedly killing Smith.
City News Service contributed to this report.