Prosecutors on Monday filed murder and attempted burglary charges against a man accused of killing two people found inside a Newport Beach condominium over a week ago.
Jamon Rayon Buggs, a 44-year-old personal trainer from Huntington Beach, allegedly shot Darren Donald Partch and Wendy Sue Miller.
Partch’s roommate found the victims the evening of April 21, about 20 hours after the pair was last seen near a bar in Laguna Beach. Miller was giving Partch a ride home, according to her friends.
Buggs was already in custody in connection with two attempted burglaries in an Irvine neighborhood when Newport Beach police announced him as a suspect in the double homicide.
The first incident happened around 11:30 p.m. on April 20, Irvine police said. The resident heard a noise from the balcony and saw Buggs, who then fled and fired a handgun, according to investigators. A bullet struck the exterior of the home, officials said.
The second attempted burglary happened the next day at 5 a.m. Surveillance video showed Buggs trying to open a home’s front door before leaving, Irvine police said. He never entered the home, but the resident later saw the footage and reported the incident to authorities.
At 12:50 a.m. on April 22, officers tried to a stop a “suspicious” vehicle in the same neighborhood. The driver, later identified as Buggs, didn’t stop and a brief pursuit ensued, according to Irvine police.
When Buggs crashed into a parked car, he abandoned his vehicle and ran into a nearby backyard, police said. At some point, Buggs allegedly broke into an unoccupied home.
A SWAT team, along with air units from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Anaheim police, responded to the scene to contain the suspect and evacuate residents.
Officers finally detained Buggs at about 4 a.m., when he ran from the home in an attempt to flee, police said. He was booked at Orange County Jail.
Buggs did not appear to know Miller, a 48-year-old mother of two from Costa Mesa and a founder of a nonprofit, and Partch, a 38-year-old account executive and a former hockey player, according to the O. C. District Attorney’s Office.
Buggs had a record for assault on a police officer in San Diego County in 1995, prosecutors said.
In addition to two counts of murder and one count of attempted first-degree burglary, Buggs was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, with a sentencing enhancement of personal discharge of a firearm causing death.
If convicted as charged, he could face a minimum sentence of life without parole and a maximum sentence of death penalty. He’s being held on $1 million bail.