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Hanna Morcos
  • Death date
  • Sept. 24, 2010

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Hanna Morcos, 80 [Updated]

Hanna Morcos, an 80-year-old Middle Eastern man, suffered a heart attack and died while being assaulted during a home-invasion robbery Friday, Sept. 24, in the 4100 block of West 137th Street in Hawthorne, according to authorities.

Morcos was found face down in his apartment by a family member about 8:30 p.m., said Ed Winter, a spokesman for the coroner's office. Authorities were called, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

At the time, it appeared Morcos had suffered blunt head trauma, however coroner's officials deferred a final determination pending additional tests.

Several weeks later, officials determined Morcos died as the result of a heart attack. He had been assaulted with his hands bound behind his back with a window cord. Coroner’s officials said the stress from the battery led to his heart attack and his death was ruled a homicide.

Sheriff's homicide Det. Robert Martindale, who is handling the case, said it appeared Morcos was killed during a home-invasion robbery because items had been taken from the residence.

About a month after Morcos' death, sheriff deputies arrested John Wesley Ewell, a 53-year-old black man, in connection with the double homicide of a couple. Leamon and Robyn Turnage, a 69-year-old white man and 57-year-old white woman, who were found dead in their home about four blocks from Morcos’ house. During the investigation, authorities linked Ewell to Morcos' death and the killing of Denice Roberts, a 53-year-old black woman who lived on the same block as Ewell.

Ewell pleaded not guilty to the four deaths in court Nov. 30.

-- Sarah Ardalani

The original post, along with its updates, is below.

Hanna Morcos, an 80-year-old Middle Eastern man, died Friday, Sept. 24, in the 4100 block of West 137th Street in Hawthorne, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.

Ed Winter, a spokesman for the coroner's office, said Morcos was found face down in his apartment by a family member about 8:30 p.m.

It appeared Morcos had suffered blunt head trauma, Winter said.

Authorities were called, and he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to coroner's records.
After initially listing Morcos' death as a homicide, coroner's officials have since deferred a final determination pending additional tests.

Results will not be available for another six to eight weeks.

[Updated at 3:13 p.m. Sept. 30: Sheriff's homicide Det. Robert Martindale, who is handling the case, said Morcos' death is being investigated as a homicide. Martindale said the incident appeared to be a home invasion robbery because items had been taken from the residence.

At this time, investigators do not have a description of the assailant.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Martindale at (323) 890-5500. Those who'd like to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.]

[Updated Nov. 10: Authorities have since made an arrest in connection with Morcos' death.

During the investigation, detectives learned that John Wesley Ewell, a 53-year-old black man who was apprehended in a string of home invasion robbery-killings, was linked to Morcos' death.

Times coverage: Suspected home-invasion killer charged with two other deaths]

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