Wed. Feb 8th, 2023

Tad Allen Carroll and Barbara Ann Hamel

Orange County District Attorney Press Release

For Immediate Release, Case # 10CF2478: December 13, 2013


*Third co-defendant in this case was convicted of second degree murder

SANTA ANA – A man and woman pleaded guilty today to murdering a 55-year-old man after following the victim home from Hawaiian Gardens Casino to rob him of $10,000 in gambling winnings. Tad Allen Carroll, 45, formerly of Buena Park, pleaded guilty today to one felony count of first degree murder. Barbara Ann Hamel, 50, Long Beach, pleaded guilty today to second degree murder. Carroll is expected to be sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison and Hamel is expected to be sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison at their sentencing Feb. 21, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Co-defendant Michael William Ross, 30, Long Beach, pleaded guilty Sept. 27, 2013, to one felony count each of second degree murder, robbery, and attempted robbery. He was sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison.

Circumstances of the Orange County Murder

In the early morning on Sept. 3, 2010, Ross is accused of entering the Casino and surveying winning gamblers with the intention of robbing them after they left the Casino. Co-defendants Carroll and Hamel are accused of waiting in a Pontiac Grand Prix outside the Casino with the intention of robbing winning gamblers that Ross was watching. Ross is accused of closely watching 55-year-old Chi Bui who had been winning while gambling with his friend Kim Nguyen. At approximately 4:00 a.m., Bui went to the Casino’s cashier window, cashed in his chip winnings having over $10,000 in cash, and left the Casino with Nguyen. Ross is accused of following the victims out of the Casino and making a phone call to Carroll and Hamel.

Carroll and Hamel drove and followed Bui, who drove Nguyen to her Santa Ana home. Carroll and Hamel blocked-in Bui’s car after he stopped alongside the curb in front of Nguyen’s home. Carroll got out of the vehicle, approached the victims, and pointed a knife at them to steal their winnings. He knocked Bui to the ground and got back into the Grand Prix. Hamel drove over Bui’s head, killing him instantly, and then fled the scene with Carroll. Nguyen called 911.

The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) were able to link the three defendants to the crime with the assistance of the Hawaiian Gardens Casino, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), California Department of Corrections, Parole Fugitive Apprehension Team, and United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force.

Carroll was arrested, Sept. 8, 2010, in Anaheim. Hamel was apprehended in Long Beach later that day. Ross was arrested Sept. 18, 2010.

SAPD and LASD coordinated the investigation of this case with assistance from the Hawaiian Gardens Casino.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Larry Yellin 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 Office: 714-347-8408 Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami Spokesperson Office: 714-347-8405 Cell: 714-323-4486

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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