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Man Arrested in '95 Slaying of O.C. Jogger

May 07, 1996|THAO HUA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

FOUNTAIN VALLEY — After exhausting scores of leads for nearly a year, police on Monday announced the arrest of a Los Angeles man in connection with the killing of Jane Carver, a flight attendant and mother of two who was gunned down while returning home from a morning jog near Mile Square Regional Park.

Leonard Owen Mundy, a 42-year-old self-employed electrician who also has two children, was arrested on suspicion of murder Saturday at his home, said Police Sgt. Dann Bean. Mundy was held without bail in the Orange County Jail and was to be arraigned today in Municipal Court in Westminster. Police have scheduled a news conference for later this morning.

"At this time, he is the only suspect," Bean said. "We don't expect any more arrests."

Detectives spent nearly a year pursuing leads in the June 10 slaying that horrified residents in a tightly knit neighborhood a few blocks from the park, where Carver, 46, regularly jogged.

Though they declined to specify what led to Mundy's arrest, detectives said an "unusual turn of events" several weeks ago provided them with a key lead. They said a case similar to the Carver killing surfaced, but they would not elaborate.

"Usually, if you don't solve a case within the first few weeks, the leads become stale and people lose interest," Bean said. "It becomes very difficult.

"In this case, it was the similarities with another case that drew our attention to [Mundy]. . . . We haven't had this lead for very long. We're still working on the investigation. In fact, we're going to be here all night working on this."

On June 10, Carver was jogging at about 8 a.m. when a man approached her and shot her in the left eye, leaving her to die in a flower bed near her home.

The gunman then got into his white compact car, made a U-turn and drove through the neighborhood to Euclid Street, police said.

The slaying prompted a community outpouring of anger, grief and determination to find the killer. Organizations such as United Airlines, where Carver had worked for 26 years, and a group of joggers at Mile Square Regional Park contributed to a $25,000 reward fund.

Police posted a sign at the crime scene and passed out thousands of flyers hoping for leads. Dozens of people from all over the county placed flowers by the cinder-block wall where Carver's body was found.

At the time, police had discounted robbery as a motive and suspected that the gunman may have been stalking Carver. There also was evidence that the killer had tried to abduct her, they said. Detectives did not offer a motive Monday when they announced Mundy's arrest.

Mundy lives with his wife of six years, a 2-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son, said his father, Richard Mundy of Los Angeles.

The father said Leonard Mundy "would make it a point to know what's going on in his children's lives. I think that's a mark of a good father."

Richard Mundy said he and his son had been close until about three years ago, when they had a falling out because of a "personality conflict." They had barely spoken since, but on April 28, Mundy surprised his father with a visit.

"He decided he wanted to cut the grass," Richard Mundy said. "He was trying to make up after all this time. . . . That was the last time I talked to him."

Of the arrest, he said, "I haven't the faintest idea what happened."

Leonard Mundy graduated from Hamilton Senior High School and attended college but did not graduate, his father said. His mother died in 1981, and he has a younger brother who lives in California.

Court records show that Mundy was convicted in the 1980s for narcotics possession and carrying a concealed weapon.

Carver's husband, Al Carver, declined to discuss the arrest until after today's news conference. Neighbors said he has been planning 5-K and 10-K runs at Mile Square Regional Park to be held in her name to raise money for scholarships.

Residents living near the park said they were relieved to hear of the arrest.

"I'm glad it's going to bring completion for the family," said Carol Cotten, a neighbor of the family for several years. "It's been nagging at everyone's minds. You can't walk by there without remembering it."

Neighbor Ben Fano, 40, said his wife had stopped going out for morning walks after Carver was killed but may resume now.

After learning that a suspect was in custody, Fountain Valley Councilwoman Laurann Cook said she was delighted.

"Maybe the end is in sight for the family," she said.

Times staff writers Renee Tawa, J.R. Moehringer and Martin Miller contributed to this story.

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