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Slain Man's Family Offers $10,000 for Information on 1984 Killings

Courts: Prosecutors hope reward will bolster case against Josif Jurcoane, who is accused of shooting two people.

November 30, 2001|RICHARD FAUSSET and JEAN GUCCIONE | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

The family of one of the victims in a 1984 double slaying has offered a $10,000 reward for information that could bolster the case against the man awaiting trial for the crime.

The suspect, 51-year-old Josif Jurcoane, was extradited from Mexico in April and charged with the shooting deaths of Lloyd "Bill" Bryden, 66, and his live-in girlfriend, Alice B. McCannel, 39. The slayings occurred July 4, 1984, at Bryden's Mountain Brook Ranch in Valyermo, near Palmdale.

Bryden's daughter, Nancy Roebuck, 55, said she and her two siblings put up the reward.

"Since [Jurcoane] is incarcerated now, people might be more willing to come forward who weren't willing when he was still at large," said Roebuck, who lives in Palos Verdes.

Prosecutors are scrambling to bolster their case after an appellate court recently ruled that one of their key witnesses--Jurcoane's estranged wife, Susan--could not be forced to testify against her husband. The two have lived apart since he fled the county immediately after the killings.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Rouman Ebrahim said he has enough evidence to convict Jurcoane. "But it always helps to have more direct evidence," he said. "The reward is for any further information from anyone who can basically make it a stronger case."

According to police reports, Susan Jurcoane saw her husband grab a shotgun and shells and then drive off in his truck on the day of the slayings. After hearing three or four shots, she told police, he returned and allegedly said, "Susan, I shot them."

Prosecutors said Jurcoane had worked as a farmhand for Bryden, but was fired and ordered to move off the property in late May 1984.

If convicted, Jurcoane faces up to life in prison without parole. Under an agreement with Mexican authorities, prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty in exchange for the suspect's extradition to the United States.

Jurcoane's lawyer, Arnold Notkoff, said the evidence against his client is circumstantial. "There's no fingerprints on a gun, no witnesses, no fingerprints on the cartridge shells they found," he said.

Since his April 27 arrest, Jurcoane has been held without bail at the North County Correctional Facility in Saugus. He is to be arraigned in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Lancaster on Dec. 12.

Anyone with information on the slayings is asked to call homicide detectives at (323) 890-5500.

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