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Slaying Suspect May Face New Charge : Courts: Edward Charles III allegedly offered to pay a deputy, who posed as an assassin, to kill his grandfather. Prosecutors are awaiting reports about the sting operation.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Prosecutors are deciding whether to charge a 22-year-old Fullerton man, already in custody on suspicion of killing his parents and brother, with plotting in jail to have his grandfather killed.

Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. David Brent said Tuesday that he is waiting for reports from an undercover operation conducted in jail last week, during which Edward Charles III allegedly offered to pay an undercover deputy posing as an assassin to kill his 74-year-old grandfather and then take the blame for all of the murders, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

“There may be more charges, or it may be used as evidence in the existing case,” Brent said. “There are reasons to file more charges and reasons not to. It could add eight or nine more years to a sentence, which wouldn’t matter if a suspect were to receive a sentence of life in prison or the death penalty.”

Charles is accused of killing his father, Edward Charles Jr., 55, an engineer at Hughes Aircraft; his mother, Delores, 47, a self-employed typist, and his brother, Danny, 19. He pleaded not guilty in November.

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Authorities believe the assailant used a hammer and a knife, and they suspect that the victims were killed elsewhere, possibly the Charles’ home in Fullerton, and later placed in the family car, which had been doused with gasoline and set ablaze.

Officials also said Tuesday that a lengthy, handwritten letter, allegedly written by Charles to another Orange County Jail inmate, had been confiscated after the sting operation.

In the letter, Charles wrote that he discovered his family already dead but that he hid and later torched their bodies because he was afraid that he would be framed for killing them, sources said.

Charles “supposedly wrote this letter to another inmate who turned it over to us,” said Detective Curtis Royer of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which took the lead in the original murder investigation because the bodies were discovered in La Mirada.

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Brent refused to discuss the contents of the letter on Tuesday.

“It’s totally unfair for me to do anything that jeopardizes Charles’ right to a fair trial,” he said.


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