O.C. financial consultant to stand trial in Santa Monica killing

An Orange County financial consultant has been ordered to stand trial in connection with the 2008 slaying of a Santa Monica artist.

Daniel Edward Becerril II of Huntington Beach was arrested last March on suspicion of murder, grand theft, forgery and money laundering in connection with the slaying of Alexander Merman. His wife, Sandra Becerril, was charged with forgery and grand theft.

Merman, a 35-year-old artist and Russian immigrant, was found stabbed to death in his Montana Avenue apartment. The apartment manager found the body after Merman's mother was unable to reach her son by phone for several days.

Santa Monica police allege that Daniel Becerril, the owner of a company called AP Financial Group in Huntington Beach, was using his firm to carry out millions of dollars in real-estate and investment frauds  against multiple victims.

Becerril is accused of killing Merman after stealing $550,000 from him. He was ordered to stand trial Wednesday.

This story was reported by Times Staff Writer Andrew Blankstein.

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