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Husband and wife arrested in 2008 slaying in Santa Monica

March 2, 2012 |  3:31 pm

An Orange County financial consultant and his wife have been arrested in the 2008 slaying of a Santa Monica artist, and police said they were seeking more suspects in a complex scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Details on the alleged plot remained murky, and police said the investigation was continuing. But they said the consultant, Daniel Edward Becerril II of Huntington Beach, robbed the victim, Alexander Merman, of $550,000.

Becerril, who is being held without bail, was arrested on suspicion of murder, grand theft, forgery and money laundering. His wife, Sandra Becerril, was arrested on suspicion of forgery and grand theft. She is being held in lieu of $830,000 bail.

Police said that they hope to make additional arrests in coming days and that other employees at Becerril's firm, AP Financial Group, could be involved in the conspiracy. So far, police said, the investigation suggests that Becerril and the firm may have stolen millions of dollars from dozens of victims.

Merman, a 35-year-old artist and Russian immigrant, was found stabbed to death in his Montana Avenue apartment. The apartment manager found the body after Merman's mother was unable to reach her son by phone for several days.

Police have not said who stabbed Merman, or why he was killed in connection with the alleged financial scheme.

Milla Goldenberg, who dated Merman for a few months and remained friendly with him, remembered him as a “warm, caring, genuine guy.”

She said he was an only child who was close to his mother.

“It was just the two of them growing up," Goldenberg said. "He really took care of her.”


Homicide Report: Alexander Merman, 35

Second homicide in four days in Santa Monica

Murder-for-profit scheme suspected in Santa Monica slaying

-- Andrew Blankstein and Chris Megerian