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O.C. jury convicts man of murdering strip club owner in 1987

Richard Morris Jr. was accused of killing James Stockwell, owner of the Mustang Topless Theater in Santa Ana. Stockwell called himself Jimmy Casino.

May 01, 2013|By Mike Anton, Los Angeles Times
  • Richard Curtis Morris Jr. was convicted in the killing of James Stockwell, known as Jimmy Casino. For two decades, Casino's slaying was among Orange County's most intriguing cold cases.
Richard Curtis Morris Jr. was convicted in the killing of James Stockwell,… (Orange County Sheriff's…)

A jury has convicted a man in the 1987 murder of an Orange County strip club owner, a case that stymied investigators for more than 20 years.

Richard Morris Jr., 59, was found guilty Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court of killing James Stockwell, who owned the Mustang Topless Theater in Santa Ana and went by the name Jimmy Casino.

Casino, 48, a convicted felon who bragged that he had influence with organized crime figures, and his 22-year-old girlfriend were ambushed by two men at his Brea condo.

The men raped the woman and shot Casino three times in the head. They then stole furs, jewelry and credit cards and drove off in two of Casino's cars.

The killing had its roots in a battle over control of the lucrative Mustang strip club.

In the 15 months after the slaying, one of Casino's financial backers was shot and blinded, a club bouncer with mob ties was slain, and the Mustang was torched by an arsonist.

For two decades, Casino's slaying was among Orange County's most intriguing cold cases.

Then, in 2008, using technology not available at the time of the killing, investigators made a DNA match with Morris, who had been picked up on a DUI charge in Hawaii.

That DNA evidence from the rape of Casino's girlfriend was the key piece of evidence in Morris' trial.

He faces life in prison without parole when he is sentenced in June.

The second suspect remains at large.

mike.anton@latimes.com

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