O.C. man indicted for execution-style murders

SANTA ANA, Calif. Hilbert Pineil Thomas, 39, is accused of walking into the Golden Sun Homes business office on Beach Boulevard in Stanton on February 2, 2009 and shooting Matthew Francis Scott, 42, a sales associate and son of the business co-owner, and long-time secretary Elizabeth Ann Palmer, 49, execution-style in the head.

Investigators say Thomas then left the scene in a Lexus sedan belonging to Palmer. Police believe robbery was the motive for the killings.

On Oct. 28, 2009, after months of searching for the vehicle, police found the stolen Lexus at the El Dorado Inn on Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim. Police say evidence from the vehicle led to the defendant's identification and arrest.

Thomas was indicted on two felony counts of special circumstances murder. The special circumstances include multiple murders, murder during the commission of robbery, and murder during the commission of burglary. He is also charged with one felony count each of second degree robbery, second degree commercial burglary, and the unlawful taking of a vehicle. Thomas faces sentencing enhancements for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death.

If convicted on all counts, Thomas faces a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole. The special circumstances in this case also make Thomas eligible for the death penalty. Thomas is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment April 30, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

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