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Oceanside stabber admits manslaughter

12 years and $45,000 restitution

Defendant's brother: “We both got clothes from Brother Benno’s two days a week, plus food.”
Defendant's brother: “We both got clothes from Brother Benno’s two days a week, plus food.”

“You are going to get out of prison while you are still a young man,” the judge spoke directly to Carey Reid, who turned 25 this month. Reid made a plea deal, admitting that he stabbed a man to death four years ago, in August of 2018.

His three-week murder trial ended last July with a hung jury. Some jurors said they wondered if baby-faced Carey Reid might have entered the Oceanside condo with intent to steal, after someone else had stabbed 77-year-old John Roth, who was sleeping on his own couch in his own home.

“I don’t know if you are going to get that benefit of the doubt again, in future,” the judge cautioned Reid on the day he was sentenced, September 9, 2022. Defendant Reid never did speak, not during his trial and not during his sentencing hearing.

77-year-old John Roth was sleeping on his own couch in his home.

There were difficulties during trial, three alternate jurors were used, and lead prosecutor Keith Watanabe became sick with Covid, and the second prosecutor Isaac Jackson handled the case some days.

After the jury could not come to unanimous agreement on the charge of first degree murder, and a mistrial was declared, the prosecutor offered a plea deal. Carey Reid then admitted voluntary manslaughter, and personally using a knife as weapon, and hot prowl burglary, according to prosecutor Watanabe.

Judge Robert Kearney spoke directly to Reid before he announced the sentence, “I don’t know what happened. I do know you had a difficult childhood, but you had two brothers who care a lot about you.”

During trial, two of Reid’s brothers testified about their hard life in South Carolina, when they lived in different foster homes because their mother was a drug abuser. “His sympathetic older brother, who was a Marine, told you his younger brother was a non-violent person. This alone can create a reasonable doubt,” the public defender told the jury during his closing argument.

Carey Reid’s family is originally from South Carolina, where he was arrested in 2017 when he was 19 for breaking into cars. That was when his DNA was first collected.

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After the brothers moved to Oceanside, little brother Reid was living on the street. His older brother testified, “We both got clothes from Brother Benno’s two days a week, plus food.”

Zui Pang, after she came home from a double-overnight-shift working as a nurse, realized that her second purse and jewelry box were stolen.

During trial, a psychologist testified for defense. He suggested that the defendant had made a false confession to police because he had a low IQ. And the psychologist said that false confessions are related to “suggestibility.”

On the day of sentencing, Judge Kearney encouraged Carey Reid to live a good life after he is released from prison, “You have an opportunity to never put yourself in this position again.”

The judge counted up Reid’s days of “custody credit” so far, which came to 1,633 days, about four and half years. As stipulated in the plea deal, the judge gave Reid 12 years in California State prison.

If the jury had convicted him of first-degree murder during a burglary, as was originally charged, Reid could have gotten the death penalty or life without parole.

Prosecutor Watanabe said that after Reid is released from prison, “He will be on parole four years with a parole office and subject to numerous conditions, searches, drug conditions, and will be ordered to stay away from the Oceanside area.”

Judge Kearney remarked, “I think the agreement is appropriate.”

THE WIDOW

The widow of the deceased man, Zui Pang, now 45, was present throughout the trial. She was given a chance to make a victim’s impact statement before sentencing was announced.

“Send this monster murderer to big jail. We stop him from being on the street to do this to more families,” she told the judge.

And Zui Pang declared that Oceanside police detective Erik Ellgard was a “hero,” he was the one who found and arrested her husband’s killer. “This evil murderer today in court. He knew my John was taking nap on couch, when detective Ellgard first questioned him.”

(While the impassioned widow spoke, it appeared that Carey Reid smiled and smirked, perhaps he found her choice of words and Chinese accent amusing.)

The widow was outraged: “No way sir. The killing and stealing he did. He needs to be punished hard.”

She lauded her husband as a Vietnam veteran who “worked so hard in his life, during his working years.” And she observed, “There is many homeless person in downtown Oceanside where we live. We never thought they could be so dangerous, me and John. This young homeless monster.”

“I hope for no more stealing cases, I hope no more homeless for Oceanside,” she told the judge.

When the widow had finished her statement, the judge said, “Miss Pang, there is nothing I can say or do to bring back your husband John,” and she touched her eyes with a tissue, “I hope you can keep the happy memories of you two together,” the judge told her.

RESTITUTION

After Zui Pang found her husband dead on his couch in August of 2018, there was a two-month delay before suspect Carey Reid was identified by a DNA match and then arrested. In the meantime, the widow endured some hard questioning, partly because she was 36 years younger than her husband. “She is not a gold digger, that suspicion is not true,” prosecutor Watanabe told the jury during his closing arguments.

That same morning when Zui Pang found her deceased husband, after she came home from a double-overnight-shift working as a nurse, she then realized that her second purse and jewelry box were stolen.

The prosecutor said the jewelry box was never recovered, “It had precious jewelry, diamond earrings, rings, necklaces, watches, and antique Chinese coins from the Ming Dynasty.”

During a recorded interview, suspect Carey Reid reportedly told police, “I threw the property away cause it wasn’t mine. I threw the jewelry in the ocean.”

At the end of the sentencing hearing last week, Zui Pang was asked to tell the court the value of her lost jewelry — and other items that were stolen from their home, such as her husband’s cell phone and computer.

The widow listed her diamond wedding ring, her diamond engagement ring, gold coins, necklaces made of gold and jade, and collections of Swarovski crystal jewelry.

Zui Pang said she had jade bracelets, some from her mother, “very beautiful and expensive, depends the color, from my mother from her mother, it is priceless, for me it is priceless. It is very rare stone. From China. From many years ago already, it is an antique piece, you cannot find it anymore. It becomes more beautiful. Three or four in the box.”

She said she had a collection of Chinese coins from the Ming Dynasty, “They are copper coins, that is my collection from when in China, I got it when I was there, and this coins is very rare, it is so precious I take it from China to here.” She guessed those lost coins might be worth over a million dollars if sold at auction.

(The defense attorney said he was able to find copper Ming coins on eBay for $200. Zui Pang replied that those are cheap and not rare, but her stolen coins were rare.)

In all, Zui Pang asked to be reimbursed $100,000, although she said the value of all her lost items was worth “much more.”

The judge allowed $45,400 when he ordered restitution.

When he was first arrested, the defendant could have passed for a skinny 13 year old, and he had a sweet, innocent-looking face. Over the past four years in custody, his physique has bulked up, and during trial he did not appear so thin nor small, and not so childlike.

They met in China in 2003, when John Roth travelled for international business, and Zui Pang was an English translator. He was 62, she was 26. They dated and married in 2008 and then moved into their Oceanside condo in 2009, located at Tremont Street and Surfrider Way in downtown Oceanside.

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Defendant's brother: “We both got clothes from Brother Benno’s two days a week, plus food.”
Defendant's brother: “We both got clothes from Brother Benno’s two days a week, plus food.”

“You are going to get out of prison while you are still a young man,” the judge spoke directly to Carey Reid, who turned 25 this month. Reid made a plea deal, admitting that he stabbed a man to death four years ago, in August of 2018.

His three-week murder trial ended last July with a hung jury. Some jurors said they wondered if baby-faced Carey Reid might have entered the Oceanside condo with intent to steal, after someone else had stabbed 77-year-old John Roth, who was sleeping on his own couch in his own home.

“I don’t know if you are going to get that benefit of the doubt again, in future,” the judge cautioned Reid on the day he was sentenced, September 9, 2022. Defendant Reid never did speak, not during his trial and not during his sentencing hearing.

77-year-old John Roth was sleeping on his own couch in his home.

There were difficulties during trial, three alternate jurors were used, and lead prosecutor Keith Watanabe became sick with Covid, and the second prosecutor Isaac Jackson handled the case some days.

After the jury could not come to unanimous agreement on the charge of first degree murder, and a mistrial was declared, the prosecutor offered a plea deal. Carey Reid then admitted voluntary manslaughter, and personally using a knife as weapon, and hot prowl burglary, according to prosecutor Watanabe.

Judge Robert Kearney spoke directly to Reid before he announced the sentence, “I don’t know what happened. I do know you had a difficult childhood, but you had two brothers who care a lot about you.”

During trial, two of Reid’s brothers testified about their hard life in South Carolina, when they lived in different foster homes because their mother was a drug abuser. “His sympathetic older brother, who was a Marine, told you his younger brother was a non-violent person. This alone can create a reasonable doubt,” the public defender told the jury during his closing argument.

Carey Reid’s family is originally from South Carolina, where he was arrested in 2017 when he was 19 for breaking into cars. That was when his DNA was first collected.

Sponsored
Sponsored

After the brothers moved to Oceanside, little brother Reid was living on the street. His older brother testified, “We both got clothes from Brother Benno’s two days a week, plus food.”

Zui Pang, after she came home from a double-overnight-shift working as a nurse, realized that her second purse and jewelry box were stolen.

During trial, a psychologist testified for defense. He suggested that the defendant had made a false confession to police because he had a low IQ. And the psychologist said that false confessions are related to “suggestibility.”

On the day of sentencing, Judge Kearney encouraged Carey Reid to live a good life after he is released from prison, “You have an opportunity to never put yourself in this position again.”

The judge counted up Reid’s days of “custody credit” so far, which came to 1,633 days, about four and half years. As stipulated in the plea deal, the judge gave Reid 12 years in California State prison.

If the jury had convicted him of first-degree murder during a burglary, as was originally charged, Reid could have gotten the death penalty or life without parole.

Prosecutor Watanabe said that after Reid is released from prison, “He will be on parole four years with a parole office and subject to numerous conditions, searches, drug conditions, and will be ordered to stay away from the Oceanside area.”

Judge Kearney remarked, “I think the agreement is appropriate.”

THE WIDOW

The widow of the deceased man, Zui Pang, now 45, was present throughout the trial. She was given a chance to make a victim’s impact statement before sentencing was announced.

“Send this monster murderer to big jail. We stop him from being on the street to do this to more families,” she told the judge.

And Zui Pang declared that Oceanside police detective Erik Ellgard was a “hero,” he was the one who found and arrested her husband’s killer. “This evil murderer today in court. He knew my John was taking nap on couch, when detective Ellgard first questioned him.”

(While the impassioned widow spoke, it appeared that Carey Reid smiled and smirked, perhaps he found her choice of words and Chinese accent amusing.)

The widow was outraged: “No way sir. The killing and stealing he did. He needs to be punished hard.”

She lauded her husband as a Vietnam veteran who “worked so hard in his life, during his working years.” And she observed, “There is many homeless person in downtown Oceanside where we live. We never thought they could be so dangerous, me and John. This young homeless monster.”

“I hope for no more stealing cases, I hope no more homeless for Oceanside,” she told the judge.

When the widow had finished her statement, the judge said, “Miss Pang, there is nothing I can say or do to bring back your husband John,” and she touched her eyes with a tissue, “I hope you can keep the happy memories of you two together,” the judge told her.

RESTITUTION

After Zui Pang found her husband dead on his couch in August of 2018, there was a two-month delay before suspect Carey Reid was identified by a DNA match and then arrested. In the meantime, the widow endured some hard questioning, partly because she was 36 years younger than her husband. “She is not a gold digger, that suspicion is not true,” prosecutor Watanabe told the jury during his closing arguments.

That same morning when Zui Pang found her deceased husband, after she came home from a double-overnight-shift working as a nurse, she then realized that her second purse and jewelry box were stolen.

The prosecutor said the jewelry box was never recovered, “It had precious jewelry, diamond earrings, rings, necklaces, watches, and antique Chinese coins from the Ming Dynasty.”

During a recorded interview, suspect Carey Reid reportedly told police, “I threw the property away cause it wasn’t mine. I threw the jewelry in the ocean.”

At the end of the sentencing hearing last week, Zui Pang was asked to tell the court the value of her lost jewelry — and other items that were stolen from their home, such as her husband’s cell phone and computer.

The widow listed her diamond wedding ring, her diamond engagement ring, gold coins, necklaces made of gold and jade, and collections of Swarovski crystal jewelry.

Zui Pang said she had jade bracelets, some from her mother, “very beautiful and expensive, depends the color, from my mother from her mother, it is priceless, for me it is priceless. It is very rare stone. From China. From many years ago already, it is an antique piece, you cannot find it anymore. It becomes more beautiful. Three or four in the box.”

She said she had a collection of Chinese coins from the Ming Dynasty, “They are copper coins, that is my collection from when in China, I got it when I was there, and this coins is very rare, it is so precious I take it from China to here.” She guessed those lost coins might be worth over a million dollars if sold at auction.

(The defense attorney said he was able to find copper Ming coins on eBay for $200. Zui Pang replied that those are cheap and not rare, but her stolen coins were rare.)

In all, Zui Pang asked to be reimbursed $100,000, although she said the value of all her lost items was worth “much more.”

The judge allowed $45,400 when he ordered restitution.

When he was first arrested, the defendant could have passed for a skinny 13 year old, and he had a sweet, innocent-looking face. Over the past four years in custody, his physique has bulked up, and during trial he did not appear so thin nor small, and not so childlike.

They met in China in 2003, when John Roth travelled for international business, and Zui Pang was an English translator. He was 62, she was 26. They dated and married in 2008 and then moved into their Oceanside condo in 2009, located at Tremont Street and Surfrider Way in downtown Oceanside.

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Here is one of the mug shots from the Carolinas, when Carey Reid was first arrested, and his DNA was collected.

Sept. 27, 2022

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