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Mother of murder victim blasts OC DA Todd Spitzer on death penalty decision – Orange County Register

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The mother of a murder victim on Saturday criticized Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer for committing a “perversion of justice” in removing the death penalty from consideration in the case, saying the prosecutor was only trying to hide his own racially charged comments.

The defendant, Jamon Buggs, is Black, and the couple he is accused of killing was White. Wendi Miller, 48, was a local activist, and Darren Partch, a former pro hockey player, was 38. They were slain in Newport Beach in April 2019.

Memos written by former Senior Assistant District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh concerning an Oct. 1 meeting about the case said that prosecutors discussed defendant Buggs‘ record of domestic violence, and Spitzer inquired about the race of Buggs’ previous girlfriends.

In one memo, Baytieh states that he and prosecutor Eric Scarbrough told Spitzer the question was inappropriate. Spitzer disagreed and said he “knows many black people who enhance their status by only dating ‘white women,’ “” according to a separate memo by Baytieh.

Brenda Partch, the mother of victim Darren Partch, said she had been under the impression the office would seek the death penalty, but was informed by someone at the Newport Beach Police Department that prosecutors would instead seek life without the possibility of parole.

Partch spoke through her attorney, Rick Welsh. “This is just another trauma that’s been visited upon her by the office,” he said. “The family was not consulted by the office and had no voice in any of the decisions.”

Under Marsy’s Law, co-written by Spitzer, victims upon request have the right to be notified and informed before any pretrial disposition of the case.

Spitzer has said he was taken out of context regarding the racial comments. In a memo to the judge, he said he was trying to determine potential racial overtones in the case.

But in Partch’s view, Spitzer’s decision was  “simply to protect himself from having his own racist comments released publicly,” Welsh said.

A new prosecutor was assigned after Spitzer removed himself and the other prosecutors from the case, to retain its integrity after the allegations of the racial comments were disclosed, he said in a memo to the judge. A trial date is set for mid-March.

See also: Newport Beach police feared ‘cover-up’ by DA Todd Spitzer, letter to judge shows

DA spokeswoman Kimberly Edds on Saturday refuted that the families didn’t have a say. They did share their views on the death penalty during the deliberation process, she said, but many factors went into the decision.

With the “hasty timeframe, the court inquired whether the case was going to be a death penalty case and immediate notification was made,” Edds said.

Partch has declined to speak with the news media directly.

Also on Saturday, the California and Hawaii chapter of the NAACP issued a statement condemning Spitzer’s remarks.

“The disgusting and atrociously racist beliefs of DA Spitzer disqualifies him from being an elected official at any level of government. The CA/HI NAACP calls for his immediate resignation. No member of modern civilized society would support or even condone these kind of Jim Crow views and statements,” said Rick Callender, president of the California and Hawaii State Conference NAACP.

In the past couple of days, three California district attorneys – of Riverside, San Diego and Alameda counties – withdrew their endorsements of Spitzer’s re-election bid.

“The news of the comments and actions of Mr. Spitzer was shocking, disappointing and in the end inexcusable,” Riverside County DA Mike Hestrin said in a statement provided by his campaign manager, Tobin Holmes. “Regardless of the good work Mr. Spitzer and his office have done in the past, I cannot in good conscience support his future candidacy.  Residents of Orange County, and all of California’s counties, deserve leaders who appeal to our better angels rather than past divides. It is for these reasons that I must retract my endorsement of Mr. Spitzer in his re-election campaign.”

San Diego DA Summer Stephan did not explain why she withdrew her endorsement, saying it would be “inappropriate to comment further on this matter as it intersects with a criminal case,” her campaign manager Dan Rottenstreich said.

On Saturday, Nancy O’Malley, district attorney for Alameda County, confirmed she pulled her support in a one-sentence email: “I have notified DA Spitzer that I have withdrawn my endorsement of his re-election.”

Spitzer, through campaign spokesman Tim Lineberger, said Friday he will still support Hestrin and Stephan, who also are seeking re-election in 2022. O’Malley announced she will not seek re-election.

“It’s unfortunate to see people react based on misrepresentations or lack of information altogether. Nonetheless, these prosecutors are my colleagues and I would never let them or their communities suffer against the Soros funded and woke candidates who are trying to throw them out of office,” Spitzer said.

“The exact same thing is happening in Orange County and I will not let it happen. This is all part of a radical movement across America that will destroy our country if we don’t stop it, and I wish Mike and Summer the best as we all fight to take back our communities.”

A personal trainer from Huntington Beach, Buggs was arrested several days after a roommate discovered the bodies at Partch’s residence in the 2100 block of East 15th Street in Newport Beach.

When he was charged, Buggs already was behind bars in connection with a seemingly unrelated violent attempted burglary that apparently occurred after the slayings.



The mother of a murder victim on Saturday criticized Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer for committing a “perversion of justice” in removing the death penalty from consideration in the case, saying the prosecutor was only trying to hide his own racially charged comments.

The defendant, Jamon Buggs, is Black, and the couple he is accused of killing was White. Wendi Miller, 48, was a local activist, and Darren Partch, a former pro hockey player, was 38. They were slain in Newport Beach in April 2019.

Memos written by former Senior Assistant District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh concerning an Oct. 1 meeting about the case said that prosecutors discussed defendant Buggs‘ record of domestic violence, and Spitzer inquired about the race of Buggs’ previous girlfriends.

In one memo, Baytieh states that he and prosecutor Eric Scarbrough told Spitzer the question was inappropriate. Spitzer disagreed and said he “knows many black people who enhance their status by only dating ‘white women,’ “” according to a separate memo by Baytieh.

Brenda Partch, the mother of victim Darren Partch, said she had been under the impression the office would seek the death penalty, but was informed by someone at the Newport Beach Police Department that prosecutors would instead seek life without the possibility of parole.

Partch spoke through her attorney, Rick Welsh. “This is just another trauma that’s been visited upon her by the office,” he said. “The family was not consulted by the office and had no voice in any of the decisions.”

Under Marsy’s Law, co-written by Spitzer, victims upon request have the right to be notified and informed before any pretrial disposition of the case.

Spitzer has said he was taken out of context regarding the racial comments. In a memo to the judge, he said he was trying to determine potential racial overtones in the case.

But in Partch’s view, Spitzer’s decision was  “simply to protect himself from having his own racist comments released publicly,” Welsh said.

A new prosecutor was assigned after Spitzer removed himself and the other prosecutors from the case, to retain its integrity after the allegations of the racial comments were disclosed, he said in a memo to the judge. A trial date is set for mid-March.

See also: Newport Beach police feared ‘cover-up’ by DA Todd Spitzer, letter to judge shows

DA spokeswoman Kimberly Edds on Saturday refuted that the families didn’t have a say. They did share their views on the death penalty during the deliberation process, she said, but many factors went into the decision.

With the “hasty timeframe, the court inquired whether the case was going to be a death penalty case and immediate notification was made,” Edds said.

Partch has declined to speak with the news media directly.

Also on Saturday, the California and Hawaii chapter of the NAACP issued a statement condemning Spitzer’s remarks.

“The disgusting and atrociously racist beliefs of DA Spitzer disqualifies him from being an elected official at any level of government. The CA/HI NAACP calls for his immediate resignation. No member of modern civilized society would support or even condone these kind of Jim Crow views and statements,” said Rick Callender, president of the California and Hawaii State Conference NAACP.

In the past couple of days, three California district attorneys – of Riverside, San Diego and Alameda counties – withdrew their endorsements of Spitzer’s re-election bid.

“The news of the comments and actions of Mr. Spitzer was shocking, disappointing and in the end inexcusable,” Riverside County DA Mike Hestrin said in a statement provided by his campaign manager, Tobin Holmes. “Regardless of the good work Mr. Spitzer and his office have done in the past, I cannot in good conscience support his future candidacy.  Residents of Orange County, and all of California’s counties, deserve leaders who appeal to our better angels rather than past divides. It is for these reasons that I must retract my endorsement of Mr. Spitzer in his re-election campaign.”

San Diego DA Summer Stephan did not explain why she withdrew her endorsement, saying it would be “inappropriate to comment further on this matter as it intersects with a criminal case,” her campaign manager Dan Rottenstreich said.

On Saturday, Nancy O’Malley, district attorney for Alameda County, confirmed she pulled her support in a one-sentence email: “I have notified DA Spitzer that I have withdrawn my endorsement of his re-election.”

Spitzer, through campaign spokesman Tim Lineberger, said Friday he will still support Hestrin and Stephan, who also are seeking re-election in 2022. O’Malley announced she will not seek re-election.

“It’s unfortunate to see people react based on misrepresentations or lack of information altogether. Nonetheless, these prosecutors are my colleagues and I would never let them or their communities suffer against the Soros funded and woke candidates who are trying to throw them out of office,” Spitzer said.

“The exact same thing is happening in Orange County and I will not let it happen. This is all part of a radical movement across America that will destroy our country if we don’t stop it, and I wish Mike and Summer the best as we all fight to take back our communities.”

A personal trainer from Huntington Beach, Buggs was arrested several days after a roommate discovered the bodies at Partch’s residence in the 2100 block of East 15th Street in Newport Beach.

When he was charged, Buggs already was behind bars in connection with a seemingly unrelated violent attempted burglary that apparently occurred after the slayings.

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