Deputy D.A. Is State's Prosecutor of the Year

A deputy district attorney who has handled some of Orange County's most sensational trials was named California's prosecutor of the year, a spokeswoman said Monday.

Debora Lloyd, an Orange County prosecutor for 16 years, won murder convictions against a motorist who intentionally drove his Cadillac into a Costa Mesa preschool playground and against a Newport Beach man accused of killing his wife on a birthday cruise.

Lloyd is considered a national expert in the prosecution of murder cases in which no body was recovered. A jury this year convicted Eric Bechler of killing his wife, Pegye, after Lloyd argued that Bechler was hoping to collect on his wife's life insurance policies, worth more than $2 million.

Earlier this year, an Orange County deputy public defender was named the state's defender of the year. Deputy Public Defender Denise Gragg opposed Lloyd in the case of Steven Abrams, who drove his car onto a playground, killing two children. A jury convicted Abrams of first-degree murder last year, and he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

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