Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Transient Found Guilty in Murders of Two Women in 2001 and 2002

She was found strangled to death in an abandoned Palisades Park home on April 5, 2001

Fifteen years after his first victim was found strangled to death in an abandoned Santa Monica home, transient Edric Dashell Gross, 50, has been found guilty of her murder and that of a second victim.

This is the second trial for Gross regarding the two murders. A 2015 trial ended with a hung jury.

In April, 2001, Jacqueline Ovsak, 42, was found raped and strangled to death in an abandoned building in Santa Monica. A murder investigation was initiated, but led nowhere.

Over a year later, in October, 2002, Dana Caper's raped and strangled body was reported on the Palisades Bluffs below Santa Monica. This murder investigation also led to no arrest and both cases went cold.

But in September of 2007, Santa Monica Police Department investigators re-opened both cases and, with DNA processing from evidence on the women's bodies and new leads, they identified Edric Gross, a black 'homeless' man as the suspect. One deduces that Gross had previously been arrested for the police to have his DNA in their database.

It was another five years before Gross was found sitting in Pan Pacific Park in Los Angeles and arrested by SMPD investigators on August 15, 2012. Booked for murder with the enhancements of rape, burglary, and multiple murders, bail was set at $1 million.

Sentencing for the convicted Gross is set for June 24. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A 2015 survey found 738 homeless living in Santa Monica. Approximately one third of the homeless population includes those with serious, untreated mental illnesses, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center. These include schizophrenia, schizoactive disorder, bipolar disorder, and depression. Some research suggests that as much as 38 percent of the homeless abuse alcohol and 26 percent regularly use other drugs. While mental illness is not particularly associated with increased violent behavior, substance abuse is.


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