Police arrested a 31-year-old man Friday in the July 5 slaying of Carrie Jean Melvin, who grew up in Morro Bay and was living in Los Angeles when she was gunned down while walking along the street.
Her father said Saturday that Melvin had done some work for the suspect and rebuffed him when he expressed a romantic interest in her.
Ezeoma Obioha was arrested on suspicion of murder at about 7:15 p.m. Friday and was being held in custody on $1 million bail, according to Los Angeles County jail records.
Melvin, 30, was killed while she and her boyfriend were walking in their Hollywood neighborhood with plans to get something to eat at around 10 p.m. July 5. A gunman walked up behind them and shot Melvin in the head before getting in a car and driving away, police said.
Authorities said Friday they believe Obioha was waiting for Melvin and that the motive was “financial,” the Los Angeles Times reported. Search warrants were served at Obioha’s home and business Friday.
"We have been working hard around the clock on this and we didn't want to draw attention to the leads we developed," Los Angeles police Lt. John Radke told the Times. "This was a terrible crime and it is one of those scenes you'll never forget."
Melvin grew up in Morro Bay, attending Del Mar Elementary School, Los Osos Middle School, Morro Bay High School and Cuesta College, her father Bernie Melvin said.
She had moved to Los Angeles four years ago after earning degrees at UC Santa Cruz in both literature and in film and digital media. Carrie Melvin was doing a variety of work, including as a waitress while pursuing opportunies in the entertainment industry. She had an online radio show and did some freelance film editing, her father said.
She also had started her own business and was helping Obioha “create a digital presence” for his clothing company, Bernie Melvin said.
“Apparently he was a difficult person to work with,” Melvin said.”It took awhile for her to get paid by him. Then he wrote her a bad check for $1,600, which was less than the agreed on amount.”
Melvin said Obioha “wanted to be her boyfriend but she made it very clear at the beginning that she was not interested. They only had a business relationship. She had a boyfriend — and essentially died in his arms.”
Obioha’s Facebook page links to two companies called The HoodfellazInc and The Hoodfellas.Inc.
On Saturday, Melvin recalled his daughter as a smart, independent woman who had been that way since childhood.
“She was a good kid, respectful, but wanted to do it her way,” he said. “When the teacher said to color inside the lines she would work in the margins only.”
At 15, she took the high school proficiency exam so she could leave school and start working. At 19, she thought better of it and went to college. “It was like a rocket going off,” Bernie Melvin said. “She was a bright light and you just wanted to step back and see where she went.”
That ended on the morning of July 6, when a friend of his daughter’s called Melvin and told him he needed to talk to the Los Angeles police.
“I’m really grateful that the detective team pulled out all the stops and did what they did,” he said. “But you can’t celebrate. I’d give everything I have to have my daughter walk through the front door and say, ‘Hi, Pop.’ ”
Melvin and his wife, Susan, also have an older son, Ryan, who is married and lives in Berkeley.
Three celebrations of life are now planned — one in Los Angeles, one in Santa Cruz and one for this weekend in Morro Bay.
“This week I had to pick up her cremated remains,” Melvin said. “I helped deliver her and now I’m carrying her home in an urn.”