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Man who fatally beat woman with tree branch at Costa Mesa park gets 16-year sentence

Daniel Correa, 27, pleaded guilty  to second-degree murder in the beating death of 29-year-old Ashley Boulay.
Daniel Correa, 27, shown in a 2018 booking photo, pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree murder in the February 2018 beating death of 29-year-old Ashley Boulay in Costa Mesa.
(Courtesy of Costa Mesa Police Department)

A man arrested in 2018 on suspicion of beating a woman to death with a tree branch in Costa Mesa’s Talbert Regional Park pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 16 years in prison, records indicate.

Daniel Correa, 27, was taken into custody Feb. 28, 2018, after he called the Costa Mesa Police Department to report having found the body of a deceased woman in some brush at a nature preserve area of the park, located at 1299 Victoria St.

The victim was later identified by the Orange County coroner’s office as 29-year-old Ashley Boulay, whom officials believed had lived in Massachusetts at one point. Boulay’s body displayed signs of blunt force trauma, the Daily Pilot reported in 2018.

Costa Mesa police detained and arrested Correa, who was later charged with one count of felony murder with an enhancement for use of a deadly weapon. During an April 2018 arraignment hearing, Correa pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.

However, in a Santa Ana courtroom Thursday — after having undergone a mental health competency evaluation that delayed his trial by several months — Correa pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and admitted to the sentencing enhancement.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murder charge and given one additional year due to the enhancement. City News Service reported Correa was given credit for the 1,247 days he’d already spent in custody since his arrest.

A previous resident of Santa Ana whose occupation at the time of arrest was listed as warehouse employee, Correa is being held in the county’s Central Jail Complex in Santa Ana, according to an online inmate locator maintained by the Sheriff’s Department. He is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 12 for a firearms relinquishment hearing.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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