The two roommates and ex-stepdaughter of a 72-year-old man whose burnt body was discovered in a dry lake bed in Joshua Tree earlier this month have been charged with murder in connection to the man’s death, authorities said Tuesday.
Authorities allege that John Schiefer, 38, and Shavonne Webster, 40, bludgeoned William Webb to death using a hammer inside the man’s upscale Marina del Rey home on Aug. 15. Webb’s burned body was found the next day in a dry lake bed near Sunway Road and Rosehedge Avenue in an unincorporated area near Joshua Tree National Park, prosecutors said.
Webb’s former stepdaughter, 44-year-old Haena Kealia Worthing, is also charged in his death. However, it is unclear what role she’s alleged to have played in the slaying.
Schiefer and Webster were renting a room in Webb’s home in the 100 block of Lighthouse Mall, said LAPD Lt. John Radtke. Worthing previously had lived there and had left property inside the house, according to court records.
Radtke said that investigators suspect the trio carried out the slaying because Webb had taken steps to sell the house, a 3-story luxury home just steps from the harbor in Marina del Rey. The property is listed for sale at $2.6 million, according to public records.
“We suspected that the body was our missing person and it was verified from prints. As soon as we started to work the missing, everything fell apart” for the suspects, Radtke said. “We served two separate warrants at the location and found evidence of foul play.”
Investigators served a search warrant on the home Tuesday morning, but it is not clear what they found inside.
Control over the 5-bedroom coastal property has been a point of debate and resulted in legal battles that have played out in court over the past seven years.
It began when William Webb filed to divorce Worthing’s mother, Deborah Webb, in 2012 after roughly 15 years of marriage. Almost immediately, the couple went to war over the property, according to court records.
In 2013, Deborah Webb filed papers in court seeking an emergency order to force her estranged husband to move out of the home. The request was denied. A year later, after their divorce had been finalized, a judge gave William Webb control of the property and ordered that he put the house up for sale within 30 days.
In June 2015, Worthing sought a temporary restraining order against William Webb in Los Angeles County Superior Court based on allegations of domestic violence. However, she failed to pursue it, so a judge dismissed it.
Last February she filed another petition for a restraining order against Webb, alleging that he screamed at her in front of her 8-year-old daughter and threatened to throw her out of the house. She alleged that he also used a gate to strike her, according to the filing.
She asked the court to give her possession of the Marina del Rey property and force Webb to move out, but a judge denied the request.
In June, Webb sought his own restraining order against his former stepdaughter. He alleged that Worthing frequently visited the house — sometimes in the middle of the night — to threaten him and steal paperwork related to the sale of the property, according to the filing.
“She has some misguided idea that she can get me out of my house, and then her mother Deborah (who has cancer) can then get control of the house, and Haena has stated that she will then inherit the house,” Webb wrote.
He wrote in the filing that Worthing had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has a “terrible temper.”
“She also sends me threatening texts such as one yesterday which said ‘You sleep tight tonight William!’,” he wrote. The petition was later denied by a judge.
Worthing has a criminal record in Los Angeles County that dates back to 2000, when she pleaded no contest to willfully violating a restraining order. She was sentenced to three years of probation, court records show.
In 2014, she was charged with petty theft and was sentenced to 220 days of community service after pleading no contest.
Schiefer and Webster were arrested last week and Worthing was taken into custody Monday. All three are being held on $2 million bail.
If convicted, Schiefer and Webster face a maximum of 26 years to life in state prison. Worthing faces 25 years to life if she’s found guilty.