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Husband convicted in murder-for-hire

September 08, 2007|Greg Krikorian | Times Staff Writer

After less than two hours of deliberation, a Long Beach jury Friday convicted a retired millionaire businessman of first-degree murder for paying $50,000 to have his estranged wife killed.

Manfred Schockner, 66, was the third person found guilty in the November 2004 stabbing death of Lynn Schockner during what authorities first believed was a botched burglary at her home in the affluent Bixby Knolls neighborhood.

On the day of her death, a neighbor called police about a possible daytime prowler peering over the rear wall of the Schockners' home.

Six officers responded and surrounded the house. When Lynn Schockner went to speak with them, they asked her to let them enter her backyard.

But when she went into her house to get a key to the back gate, she was attacked by an intruder and fatally stabbed in the neck.

Police arrested him when he tried to flee.

The intruder, Nicholas Alexander Harvey, 25, of Ventura County, was convicted earlier this year of killing Schockner.

A third man, Frank Jaramillo, 29, of Woodland Hills, was also convicted of murder for his role as the middleman in the plot.

Authorities say Jaramillo, a business associate of Schockner, was paid to find someone to kill Lynn Schockner, 50, who was in the midst of a bitter divorce from Manfred Schockner.

At trial, prosecutors presented a videotape, secretly recorded by Jaramillo at the request of Long Beach police, that proved to be a critical piece of evidence. On the tape, Schockner does not admit contracting for someone to kill his wife but makes cryptic comments, including a statement about hiding the money trail between the two men.

"We are disappointed at the verdict," said Schockner's attorney, Stanley Perlo. "My client continues to assert his innocence."

The prosecutor in the case could not be reached for comment.

Schockner faces life in prison without the possibility of parole when he is sentenced Oct. 10.

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greg.krikorian@latimes.com

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