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Manager who stole rent money guilty of murder

March 2, 2009 |  3:10 pm

A man who worked as a Santa Ana apartment manager pleaded guilty today to murdering a property manager who discovered that he was stealing rent money from tenants.

Douglas Wendel Mireles, 42, of Yorba Linda is expected to be sentenced to 28 years to life in prison for the 1994 killing.

At the time, investigators were unable to match a handgun owned by Mireles to the crime because the gun’s barrel had been drilled out. In 2006, police were able to make a match using new technology.

The victim, Philip Cousins, 44, who worked for a company that oversaw the complex, discovered Mireles was pocketing rent money. He made Mireles pay it back but let him continue working as the complex’s manager.

A few years later, prosecutors said, Cousins met Mireles at the complex. Mireles led him to a storage room in an underground garage and shot him in chest and head with a .32-caliber handgun.

Cousin’s body was found later in the truck of his car.

-- Mike Anton