Newport Beach double-murder suspect may have been on jealous rampage

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- A woman said she was grateful she and her roommates were alive after police told her a suspected murderer tried to burglarize their home on Easter weekend.

Esther Lau said things could have been much worse for her and her roommates.

"I only imagine what it would've been like if those two guys were not sitting there playing games, and he would've walked into our house looking for him," Lau said.

Lau is talking about Jamon Buggs, the man Newport Beach police say was behind the double murder discovered on Easter Sunday.

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A double homicide investigation is underway Monday after a man and woman were found dead by the man's roommate at a Newport Beach home.



Irvine police said Buggs tried to burglarize two homes in Irvine that same weekend - one of them Lau's.

Lau said officers told her the suspect went there looking for a Caucasian man by the name of Jared. Instead, Buggs found Lau's Asian boyfriend.

"His name matches a name that the guy or the suspect was looking for," Lau said. "He looked through this peephole here and just saw that the two guys playing games did not match the guy that he was looking for."

Lau said detectives told her Buggs was after men he believed had a romantic history with a woman from his past.

Eyewitness News spoke with the Jared that Buggs appeared to be in search of. Jared said he was a friend of the woman from the suspect's past. He called Buggs delusional and said the deaths of Wendi Miller and Darren Partch were a tragedy.

There is no evidence that Miller had any interaction with Buggs prior to the homicide, officials said Friday. Miller and Partch were acquaintances.

Lau felt lucky all that was left behind of this in her home were the suspect's footprints and a carved-out space next door where police said they found a bullet lodged, a bullet allegedly fired by Buggs as he ran off.

"He came looking specifically for that person, saw that it wasn't him and then left," Lau said.

Buggs is expected to be charged Monday with two counts of murder with a special circumstance of multiple murders. He faces a minimum sentence of life without the possibility of parole and a maximum sentence of the death penalty. His bail was set at $1 million.

Meantime, new surveillance footage surfaced Friday of a man resembling Buggs. It was turned over to police by Sam Bottros, who told Eyewitness News his car was broken into last Friday. Three days earlier, the same suspect is seen in his neighbors backyard in Corona del Mar. Bottros said his former neighbor is Partch.

Court records show Buggs is a convicted felon. He also had a domestic violence hearing scheduled next month involving a woman who sought a restraining order against him. At least two of Buggs' Huntington Beach neighbors said they recently saw Buggs in a fight with the same woman.

A memorial service is scheduled for Wendi Miller on May 3 at Mariners Church in Irvine at 2 p.m. A celebration of life for Partch is scheduled for Saturday at the Harbor Lawn-Mt. Olive Memorial Park and Mortuary in Costa Mesa at 5:30 p.m.
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