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Camp Pendleton corporal held in slaying of a fellow Marine

A second Marine is sought in the killing of Pvt. Stephen Serrano.

May 24, 2008|H.G. Reza | Times Staff Writer

A Camp Pendleton Marine was arrested Friday and another is sought in the killing of a fellow Marine found shot to death in an Orange County ditch last week, authorities said.

Lance Cpl. Christian Carney, 21, was removed from the camp's brig, where he was jailed Thursday night, and handed over to Orange County Sheriff's Department homicide detectives. He was arrested on suspicion of killing Pvt. Stephen Serrano, 20, a native of El Dorado in Northern California. Serrano was shot once in the torso.

Pvt. Alvin Reed Lovely, a 20-year-old Texas native suspected of being an accomplice, has been AWOL from his unit since April, said sheriff's spokesman John McDonald. He is believed to be driving a 2002 black Nissan Sentra and to still be in Southern California, McDonald said.

Investigators declined to give a motive for the killing, but McDonald said early speculation about a love triangle is not true.

It was unknown Friday if the three men were in the same unit or how they knew one another. Camp Pendleton officials did not respond to calls for comment.

McDonald said he did not know what Carney's and Lovely's jobs were in the Marine Corps. Serrano was a radio operator in the 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment.

Serrano's body, clad in desert-style military fatigues and boots, was found May 15 in a concrete drainage ditch near the dead end of Calle Cordillera in a hilly area of San Clemente. His body was discovered about 8:30 a.m. by a hiker.

Authorities say Serrano was killed where his body was found and may have lain there for up to two days.

Serrano was married and lived on base. Camp Pendleton officials said he had not yet deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

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hgreza@latimes.com

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