OC personal trainer charged for double murder in Newport Beach

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
OC personal trainer charged for double murder in Newport Beach
A Huntington Beach personal trainer appeared in an Orange County courtroom Monday to face charges of murdering two people in Newport Beach last week.

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- A Huntington Beach personal trainer appeared in an Orange County courtroom Monday to be formally charged in the murder of two people in Newport Beach last week.

Jamon Buggs, 44, had his back turned to cameras as he appeared before a judge. The arraignment was continued until May 17. Buggs is being held without bail.

Buggs is facing two counts of murder with a special circumstance of multiple murders in the deaths of a man and woman inside of a Newport Beach condo on April 21. Buggs was also charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, one count of attempted first degree burglary and a sentencing enhancement of personal discharge of firearm causing death.

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.

Darren Partch, 38, and Wendi Miller, 48, were found dead at Partch's home in the 2100 block of East 15th Street on Easter Sunday.

Friends say the two were at a bar in Laguna Beach right before the crime. Police originally called the killings an isolated incident.

At the time of Buggs' arrest, he was in custody at the Orange County Jail in connection with burglary charges stemming from an arrest by the Irvine Police Department. He's also accused of firing a gun at one of the homes he allegedly burglarized. At least one of the burglaries happened after the bodies were discovered in Newport Beach.

Court records show Buggs is a convicted felon. According to the criminal complaint, Buggs was convicted of assault on a police officer in San Diego County in 1995. He pleaded guilty to felony vandalism and possession of a firearm by a felon, both felonies, as well as taking property from another and brandishing a firearm, both misdemeanors, in September 1996 and was sentenced to 32 months in state prison.

New video Monday appears to show Buggs getting chased out of an Orange County business last month. Jared Young took the video. He said Buggs wanted to kill him.

"He was hunting her and then later hunting me," he said.

Young is friends with Buggs' ex-girlfriend, who will not be identified in this report. Young said she broke things off with Buggs in December. That's when, Young said, Buggs began stalking her.

"(He) kept coming, kept trying to find her... I helped her move twice in the last four months, and she changed her phone number," Young added.

Court records show a judge granted her request for a restraining order against the personal trainer, in which she alleges he threatened her.

Young said he believes that to get back at her, Buggs requested his own restraining order on April 11, just a week and a half before he's accused of killing Miller and Partch.

Young believes Buggs was out to hurt anyone he thought was involved with his ex, including Partch and himself. Young said Partch and the woman had only exchanged a few messages. Young said Buggs even tried to break into the apartment he thought Young lived in.

"Jealousy with delusion. He was jealous of things that didn't happen, jealous of things that he imagined were happening that weren't happening," Young said.

Police have not confirmed Buggs' relationship, if any, to the victims.

Buggs' family members did not want to speak after the hearing. A good friend of Partch's, Jim Alden, did.

"It's been really, really tough, obviously for all of us. It's been a really painful experience. Most people don't have the experience of having a really close friend murdered," Alden said.

City News Service contributed to this report.