It was a year ago tomorrow that I learned his name: John McGraham. A homeless man who was a fixture in the neighborhood radiating out from 3rd Street and Berendo where he could often be found, McGraham, 55, was attacked and murdered there October 9th, 2008, reportedly doused with a flammable liquid and set on fire with a flare.
I biked by there this morning to find the above poster McGraham’s family mounted to the long-empty dentistry office outside of which he had lived and so brutally died.
Such unfathomable violence galvanized the community and after more than three months of intense investigations detectives from LAPD Robbery/Homicide Division arrested 30-year-old Benjamin Matthew Martin in Ranch Mirage, Riverside County on January 22. Though unemployed at the time of his arrest, Martin had reportedly worked as a barber in and around the area where McGraham was killed.
According to information dated January 26, 2009 provided by the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office Website: “Martin is charged in Case No. BA351914 with one count of murder with special circumstance allegations of murder by torture and murder by means of lying in wait, making the defendant eligible for the death penalty. A report that same day found on the CBS2 Website says Martin’s arraignment was postponed until February 9 and he remains jailed without bail.
Since then? There’s nothing I can find online that updates the case. So I’ve submitted voicemail and email requests to Steve Cooley’s office in hopes they can bring me up to date. If/when the DA’s office provides it, I’ll pass it along.