GRIFFITH PARK—On Thursday, October 1, 40-year-old Gabriel Campos-Martinez was convicted of first-degree murder for the killing of 66-year-old Harvey Medellin, whom he strangulated, dismembered, and buried in Griffith Park in 2012.
Medellin, a retired airline employee, died on December 27, 2011 of asphyxiation, according to the medical examiner. His severed head was found on January 17, 2012 by two women who were hiking with their dogs near the Hollywood sign. His hands and feet were discovered to be buried nearby by police and a cadaver dog. His torso was never recovered, but DNA evidence collected in March 2014 suggests that it may have been buried near the mouth of the Bronson Caves in Griffith Park. Medellin’s body parts were wrapped in plastic; specifically, plastic bags from the 99 Cents Only store. These same bags were found in Campos-Martinez’s apartment. The body parts had not been thoroughly decomposed when they were discovered, which suggests that they were refrigerated before being buried.
The killer and the victim were romantically involved and had been living together for approximately six months before the murder occurred. During the trial, the prosecution pointed to the fact that after Medellin’s death, Campos-Martinez drained his boyfriend’s bank account, pawned his jewelry, and lied about Medellin’s disappearance. He filed a missing persons report on Medellin, but only after police visited his apartment after receiving calls from concerned friends and family. He later moved to Texas, where he was arrested by officers from the San Antonio Police Department in 2014.
Another key factor that the prosecution presented as evidence were searches made on a computer in the couple’s apartment shortly after Medellin was reported missing, including “butcher a human carcass for human consumption.” The tools with which Medellin were butchered were never discovered. Campos-Martinez is set to be sentenced on November 16 and is facing 25 years to life in prison.