Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Long Beach man convicted of torturing, slaying friend in 1988

November 2, 2010 |  5:38 pm

A Long Beach man was convicted Tuesday of torturing and killing a friend in 1988 and torching the victim’s apartment to destroy evidence, authorities said.

Paul Gentile Smith, 50, was found guilty in Orange County Superior Court of one count of special circumstances murder with torture and a sentencing enhancement for use of a personal weapon, authorities said.

Smith stabbed longtime friend Robert Haugen, then 29, several times and nearly decapitated him in his Sunset Beach apartment, the Orange County district attorney's office said.

In 2007, Smith was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in Nevada and his DNA was entered into a national crime database. That led to investigators charging him with Haugen's slaying, according to authorities.

Smith is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 30 at the Santa Ana courthouse and faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

--Robert J. Lopez