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Man Held in Car Salesman's Death

Authorities say victim in Cerritos was stabbed after the suspect was turned down for a test drive because he didn't show a driver's license.

September 08, 2005|Wendy Thermos | Times Staff Writer

A man suspected of stabbing a car salesman to death with a butcher knife did so after his request to test drive a Corvette was turned down at a Cerritos auto dealership, authorities said Wednesday.

Melchor Macaso, 35, of Norwalk was arrested on suspicion of murder Tuesday after he was restrained by the victim's co-workers at the scene, according to Capt. Daryl Evans of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Macaso was being held in lieu of $1-million bail, authorities said.

The salesman died shortly afterward at Long Beach Memorial Hospital, coroner's Lt. Emil Moldovan said.

His identity was withheld until relatives could be notified.

Frank D'Agostino, general manager of S & J Chevrolet in the 18600 block of Studebaker Road, said Macaso arrived shortly before 7 p.m. and asked to drive a demonstrator car.

"The policy is you can't test-drive a car without a driver's license, and he couldn't produce one," D'Agostino said.

After the salesman turned down the request, the suspect pulled a knife from his clothing and immediately stabbed the victim several times in the chest before attempting to run from the scene, investigators said.

Employees grabbed Macaso and a brief struggle ensued.

"They restrained him and sat on him" until deputies arrived, D'Agostino said.

D'Agostino said he believes Macaso came to the car lot planning to steal a vehicle.

"Obviously he was prepared to do this because he had a large butcher knife with him," D'Agostino said.

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Times staff writer John Spano contributed to this report.

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