SANTA MONICA—On Wednesday, June 8, Edric Dashell Gross, 50, was found guilty for the murders of two women in 2001 and 2002, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Sentencing is scheduled for June 24 in Department W83 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Airport Branch.
A jury found Gross guilty of two counts of first degree murder with special circumstance of multiple murders. The two victims were Jacqueline Ovsak, 41, and Dana Caper, 42. Gross was arrested in August 2012 and first tried in court in 2015, but that ended in a mistrial with the jury unable to reach a verdict.
The Santa Monica Daily Press reported in 2013 of the arrest of Gross for strangling the two women to death. The first victim, Ovsak, had been found by construction workers on April 5, 2001, in an abandoned building in the 1500 block of Seventh Street. The second victim, Caper, had been found on October 29, 2002, in the 800 block of Palisades Park on the side of the bluffs.
Both victims had been described as transients who had lived along the bluffs. At the time investigators and looked into all available leads until they ran out and the case went cold. In September 2007, investigators were assigned to the cold case unit and reopened the cases. With DNA evidence and new leads Gross was able to be identified and linked to the murders.
“There were no eyewitnesses and nobody testified that Gross knew either of the victims,” Ricardo Santiago, Public Communications Officer for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, told Canyon News in an email. “He was linked to the crime only by the DNA evidence and the fact that the victims and the murders were so similar, indicating the same person killed both of them.”
Gross was arrested in 2012 and he was homeless at the time. He was arrested while sitting in Pan Pacific Park near The Grove shopping center. Shortly after his arrest he pleaded not guilty at a court hearing. Now that he has been found guilty of the murders he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Canyon News tried to reach the Santa Monica Police Department for more information on the original case, but was unable to receive comment before print.