Orange County personal trainer convicted in 2019 double murder of Wendi Miller, Darren Partch

A Huntington Beach personal trailer was convicted Tuesday of two counts of first-degree murder for shooting and killing a man he suspected was dating his ex and a woman he believed was his former girlfriend, the Orange County District Attorney's Office announced.

Jamon Rayon Buggs, 47, was also convicted of one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, one count of attempted first-degree burglary and a sentencing enhancement of personal discharge of a firearm causing death in connection with the incident.

Wendi Miller, 48, and her friend, 38-year-old Darren Partch, a minor-league hockey player, were found murdered in a Newport Beach condo on April 22, 2019.

At the time of the arrest, Buggs was already in custody at the Orange County Jail on unrelated charges stemming from a series of burglaries in the Irvine area.

Miller started Wings for Justice, a Newport non-profit that advocates for children in court and brings about positive change. She also helped battered women and veterans get jobs.

Friends say they last saw Miller and Partch leaving a Laguna Beach bar early Saturday. Partch's roommate found their bodies at his condo in the 2100 block of East 15th Street when he came home after the Easter holiday weekend. Police say there was no forced entry.

According to the DA, Partch had been previously threatened by Buggs on two prior occasions to stay away from his girlfriend. Partch said did not have a relationship with the woman but agreed to stay away from her, officials.

No evidence led authorities to believe Miller, who had given Partch a ride home after meeting him a few hours beforehand, had any interaction with Buggs prior to the murders. 

In the weeks leading up to the murders, Buggs was conducting computer searches to find information on Partch, including his cell phone number, current and former addresses, and photographs, the DA said. Cell phone data also placed Buggs at Partch’s former and current residences numerous times, including the night Partch and Miller were killed. 

Less than 24 hours after the murders, Buggs attempted to break-in to the Irvine apartment he wrongly believed belonged to a chiropractor he suspected was also having a relationship with his ex-girlfriend, the DA said. 

A woman in her living room spotted him and as Buggs climbed down from the balcony he fired a shot from the gun he was carrying. Police recovered the bullet and set up a surveillance of the Irvine complex. The next night Buggs, who matched the burglary suspect’s description, drove up in his Camaro, according to officials.

Buggs was arrested following a high-speed pursuit and a lengthy search through a residential neighborhood. A gun was located during the search that was later linked to the murders of Partch and Miller and the shooting in Irvine. DNA matched Buggs to the weapons and bullets, according to the DA.

The defense argued this was a case of mistaken identity because Buggs’ ex-girlfriend had blonde wavy hair like Miller and the murders were committed in a dark room in the middle of the night, making it difficult for Buggs to distinguish if the woman he was shooting was his ex-girlfriend.

Buggs faces a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 3, 2022.