Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsMurders

California Briefing / Santa Ana

Virginia man is accused of killing retiree at sea

February 14, 2009|Christopher Goffard

A motivational speaker from Virginia was charged Friday with murder with special circumstances for allegedly swindling a 71-year-old Arizona man and then luring him out of Dana Point Harbor to his death.

Prosecutors allege that Gary A. Shawkey, 46, of Mechanicsville, Va., duped Robert Vendrick, 71, a retired software programmer from Phoenix, into investing $100,000 in a fraudulent "top secret computer software" project for the federal government.

Shawkey then bought a battered 23-foot sailboat and traveled out of Dana Point Harbor with Vendrick in February 2008, authorities said, on the pretext that they would meet "federal agents" on San Clemente Island to seal the deal. Prosecutors allege that Shawkey killed Vendrick and disposed of his body.

Shawkey portrayed himself as an Internet marketing guru and published a self-help book in 2003 titled "If I Can . . . Anybody Can." He once tried, unsuccessfully, to break a world record by walking across 200 feet of hot coals.

Prosecutors will seek to have Shawkey extradited to Orange County from Virginia, where he is in custody on unrelated theft charges.

-- Christopher Goffard

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|