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Teens kill man, burn body in SUV over bad business deal, cops say

The body of Christopher Waters, 42, was discovered April 23 in a burning SUV in Rancho Palos Verdes. Two people have been arrested in connection with his slaying.
(Department of Motor Vehicles)

Two teens charged with beating and fatally strangling a man and setting his SUV on fire in Rancho Palos Verdes with his body inside had argued with the man over a business deal before the killing.

Jose Angel Martinez, 18, of Compton, and Adrian Berumen, 17, of Long Beach, face murder and arson charges in connection with the April 23 slaying of Christopher Waters. Berumen has been charged as an adult, authorities said.

“The victim was doing some graphic artist work for the suspects’ silk screening business when the argument occurred,” said sheriff’s homicide Lt. Holly Francisco.

She said the slaying took place at the home of one of the suspected assailants in Long Beach, and they tried to cover it up by burning the SUV with Waters inside.

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Waters’ body was found in the rear of a burning SUV in the 30100 block of Miraleste Drive. His feet were bound together and a cord was wrapped around his neck.

Four days after the killing, Berumen walked into the Long Beach Police Department and asked to speak with homicide detectives about the slaying. No further details about the conversation were available.

Berumen and Martinez were subsequently charged May 3 in the slaying. Martinez was arrested Wednesday.

Berumen also was charged April 30 with an attempted murder last September in Long Beach.

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“He stabbed a man, but his victim survived,” said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Berumen, who turns 18 next month, is set to be arraigned May 21 at the Long Beach courthouse. Martinez’s arraignment is scheduled Friday.

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Joseph.serna@latimes.com

@josephserna

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