The estranged husband of a Long Beach woman whose throat was slit during what had been believed to be a bungled burglary was arrested Friday on suspicion of arranging the killing, authorities said. Investigators said Manfred Schockner, 64, paid business associate Frank Jaramillo, 29, of Woodland Hills to find someone to kill his wife, Lynn. The Schockners were in the process of divorcing, police said, and assets were at stake.
The affluent Bixby Knolls neighborhood where the Schockners lived was shaken by the Nov. 8 killing, which occurred while police were outside the couple's house.
Officers had responded to a call about 11 a.m. of a possible prowler loitering and peering over the rear wall of the Schockners' home.
Two officers knocked on the front door while a third circled around to an alley behind the house.
Lynn Schockner, 50, answered the door and officers asked her to open the back gate to let them check her yard, police said.
She left to get the key, closing the door because her dog was barking. After several minutes, authorities said, the officer in the alley radioed that he had captured a man climbing the fence. At that point, the other officers broke into the house and found Schockner dead of a five-inch stab wound to the left side of her neck, authorities said.
The man officers had caught, Nicholas Harvey, 22, of Port Hueneme, had jewelry from the house and a knife, police said.
Investigators initially thought Schockner had surprised him during a burglary. But then they began to question why a man with no criminal history would drive more than 80 miles from Port Hueneme to break into a home in Long Beach, Police Chief Anthony Batts said Friday.
They began an "around the clock investigation," he said, that "uncovered a murder-for-hire scheme."
The Schockners, married for 24 years, recently had been taking turns living in their ranch-style home with their 14-year-old son, Charlie, Batts said.
"The Schockners had an unusual arrangement," he said.
Investigators said they believe Schockner paid Jaramillo to find a killer.
A trust fund might have been the motive for the killing, Batts said, but he would not elaborate.
Jaramillo was arrested Thursday -- Batts would not say where -- and was in custody on $1-million bail at the Long Beach jail. Schockner was being held without bail at county jail.
A fourth man, from Ventura County, who was believed to have dropped off Harvey in the alley shortly before the slaying, surrendered to authorities and was released after questioning.
The officers who reported to the Schockners' home that day were badly shaken, said Officer Greg Schirmer. "They feel terrible about it," he said.