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CORONA DEL MAR : Developer Is Rescued From Boat

May 25, 1993|THUAN LE

A developer awaiting trial for allegedly killing a former employee was rescued ashore early Monday after his powerboat drifted onto rocks south of the jetty, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

James Newman Hood, 50, had his cabin cruiser on automatic pilot at 1:20 a.m. when it missed the harbor entrance and was caught on the reefs, Lt. Dick Olson said.

Harbor Patrol officers in a boat went nearly 75 yards from shore to the vicinity of the rocks, then swam to where the 36-foot Entre Amis sat stranded.

The rescuers brought Hood and a 41-year-old woman to shore. The woman, whom Olson declined to identify, was treated for minor injuries to her face.

Hood's daughter, 15-year-old Mindy, said that her father had been returning from Catalina Island.

The developer's retrial is scheduled for July 16 in San Bernardino County Superior Court. He was accused in 1992 of allegedly shooting to death Bruce Beauchamp at his company's office in Fontana.

In March, a jury deadlocked in favor of convicting Hood of murder, and the judge declared a mistrial, according to Deputy Dist. Atty. David Whitney.

Hood had testified that Beauchamp was angry because Beauchamp's brother-in-law had been arrested on suspicion of stealing equipment from Hood's company and that he shot Beauchamp in self-defense after an angry argument.

The killing was a strange development in the history of the relationship between the businessman and his ex-employee.

Beauchamp had been acquitted of murdering Hood's wife, Bonnie, in her bedroom in 1990 at Camp Nelson, a Northern California lodge that the Hoods owned.

A handyman at the lodge, who was in the room at 3 a.m., was injured in the head during the assault and later identified Beauchamp as the attacker.

Prosecutors charged Hood with hiring Beauchamp to kill Bonnie Hood and then murdering him to cover it up.

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