Orange County District Attorney Press Release
For Immediate Release, Case # 10ZF0087: January 28, 2014
SANTA ANA – A man faces a death penalty jury trial tomorrow for the double-murder of a Stanton sales associate and his longtime secretary. Hilbert Pineil Thomas, 42, Garden Grove, is charged with two felony counts of special circumstances murder for multiple murders, murder during the commission of robbery, and murder during the commission of burglary. He is also charged with one felony count each of second degree robbery, second degree commercial burglary, and the unlawful taking of a vehicle. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, at 9:30 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On the morning of Feb. 2, 2009, Thomas is accused of walking past Golden Sun Homes business office on Beach Boulevard in Stanton while taking his niece to school. He is accused of living approximately 500 feet from the business. The defendant is accused of deciding to murder the employees inside in order to steal a car belonging to a secretary for the business.
After dropping off his niece, Thomas is accused of entering Golden Sun Homes and shooting and murdering Matthew Francis Scott, a sales associate and son of the business co-owner, and long-time secretary Elizabeth Ann Palmer. Both victims were shot execution-style in the head. Thomas is accused of then stealing Palmer’s Lexus sedan and fleeing the scene.
The murders were investigated by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), but a defendant was not immediately identified.
In an unrelated case, Thomas was served with a protective order by OCSD on Oct. 13, 2009, barring him from having contact with his ex-wife after having set her car on fire in Los Angeles County. As a term of the protective order, Thomas was ordered to turn over all of his firearms to law enforcement.
On Oct. 24, 2009, after months of searching for Palmer’s vehicle, police found the stolen Lexus parked at the El Dorado Inn on Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim.
On Oct. 26, 2009, Thomas is accused of turning over a firearm to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) to comply with the protective order.
On Oct. 28, 2009, OCSD determined that Thomas had been in possession of the stolen vehicle and began investigating him for the murders of Scott and Palmer. An investigation into Thomas’ background showed that he had recently been contacted by LASD. Thomas is accused of having turned over the firearm used in the Orange County murders to LASD.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff