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Defendant in Buena Park parking lot killing has died in custody

SANTA ANA — A murder charge was dismissed Friday against a 62-year-old man accused of deliberately running over a woman in a hotel parking lot in Buena Park because the defendant has died in custody, a prosecutor said.
Nelson Ward Jr. of Santa Ana was charged with murder, along with assault with a deadly weapon or instrument likely to produce great bodily injury. He died in mid- November “apparently from natural causes,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino said.
Ward was accused of killing 32-year-old Jessica Carvajal about 1:20 a.m., Sept. 12, 2015, in the parking lot of a Holiday Inn at 7000 Beach Blvd., according to Pino.
Carvajal and her boyfriend met Ward that day, which was his birthday, and the three spent the day driving around drinking together, Pino said.
At some point, Ward decided to take a nap in the back of the van while he let Carvajal and her boyfriend drive around, the prosecutor said. The boyfriend was behind the wheel and Carvajal was up front in the passenger seat, Pino said.
When Ward woke up, he grew angry and accused Carvajal and her boyfriend of stealing his vehicle and wasting his gas, according to Pino. Ward demanded they get out of the van, so the boyfriend pulled into the Holiday Inn parking lot, the prosecutor said.
The three continued arguing after the couple got out of the vehicle, he said. Ward then got behind the wheel, punched the gas and drove up over a divider and a mid-size palm tree and onto a sidewalk, “crushing” Carvajal against a wall, Pino alleged.
She was pronounced dead at the scene, and her boyfriend was slightly injured, Pino said.
Ward was arrested at a nearby hotel, where investigators noticed blood on his shoes.
Source: Oc Register

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