Fashion Island Newport Beach murder suspect was out on probation for 2022 Santa Monica incident

One of the three men accused of killing a tourist in Newport Beach was on probation for an armed robbery in Santa Monica.

The revelation comes as the three suspects from the Newport Beach attempted robber-gone-wrong incident appeared in court on Wednesday, July 10. The getaway driver, Leroy Ernest McCrary, who is also accused of killing a tourist from New Zealand, was on probation after a plea deal in a 2022 Santa Monica incident.

In the 2022 incident, it was allegedly over robbing a person at gunpoint over a watch – similar to the Newport Beach incident allegedly stemming from the suspects targeting the 68-year-old murder victim's husband over his watch. McCrary ended up spending five days in jail over the felony incident.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón's office issued the following statement:

"The case against Mr. McCrary had significant problems with proof, including witnesses who were unable to identify a suspect because he was masked and wearing a hoodie during the incident.

In preparing the robbery case, the DA’s Office closely inspected all available surveillance video.

Unfortunately, the suspect’s face was concealed, which made it nearly impossible to make an identification. As a result, the management team at the Airport Court authorized a plea offer that allowed the judge to place Mr. McCrary on probation with a suspended state prison sentence and a second-strike conviction. The trial deputy consulted the supervisor before extending this offer and the offer was approved by that judge.

The suspect’s alleged conduct in Orange County is reprehensible and we stand ready to support the prosecution if needed.

DNA testing was ordered, and preliminary results were received. At the time of the plea a confirmatory test had not been completed. The preliminary results were inadmissible hearsay. Since the identity of the suspect could not be proven without it, our team was concerned that the case would not survive a preliminary hearing.

The District Attorney’s Office supports the hard work of police officers who gathered evidence in the matter, but our prosecutors were limited to the evidence they had at the time the plea was entered."


The other two suspects, Malachi Darnell and Jaden Cunningham, also appeared in court on Wednesday. All three suspects will be back in court on August 1.