ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY PRESS RELEASE
Case # 11CF3436
Date: March 17, 2015
SANTA ANA – A man who was on the Santa Ana Police Department’s (SAPD) most wanted list was convicted today of murdering his employer. Gerald Guy Byrne, 54, was convicted of one felony count of second degree murder. The defendant has two prior strike convictions for robbery in 1986 and arson in 1993. The Court will hear a bifurcated trial on the defendant’s prior strike convictions on April 10, 2015, at 9:00 a.m., in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. Byrne faces a maximum sentence of 55 years to life in state prison if convicted of the prior strike offenses.
At the time of the crime, Byrne was working for 69-year-old Charles Samo.
Between July 19, 2009, and July 21, 2009, Byrne entered Samo’s residence in Santa Ana and strangled him to death. After the crime, Byrne fled to Washington and was placed on the “Santa Ana Police Department’s 10 Most Wanted Suspects” list.
On Oct. 22, 2011, Byrne was arrested in Everett, Wash. by the Everett Police Department on an unrelated charge. He was identified during the booking process as a wanted parole suspect in California and was extradited back to Orange County.
SAPD investigated this case.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Herrera of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.
TONY RACKAUCKAS, District Attorney
Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff