Newport Beach police arrest suspect in double homicide of former pro hockey player, activist

by in News

A Huntington Beach man was arrested Thursday, April 25, in connection with the killings of a former pro hockey player and a local activist whose bodies were discovered over the weekend in a Newport Beach home.

Jamon Rayon Buggs, 44, was already in custody in Orange County jail on unrelated charges when Newport Beach police booked him in the slayings of Wendi Miller, 48, of Costa Mesa, and Darren Partch, 38 of Newport Beach.

Bail was set at $1 million for Buggs, a former Perris resident who originally was arrested Monday by Irvine police in connection with a pair of attempted burglaries there. He was named Thursday as a suspect in the double homicide.

The two victims were found dead Sunday, April 21, in Partch’s residence on the 2100 block of East 15th Street by his roommate. Investigators said they found no signs of forced entry into the home.

Authorities have not explained what, if any, relationship existed between the suspect and the victims.

  • Orange County Coroner’s officials confirmed on Monday, April 22, that Wendi Miller, 48, of Costa Mesa was the woman found dead along with Darren Partch, 38, at his Newport Beach Apartment on Sunday, April 21. Miller was the CEO of the nonprofit, Wings for Justice, and had been missing since Friday. (Photo courtesy of friends and family of Wendi Miller, via Facebook)

  • Jamon Rayon Buggs (Photo courtesy Irvine Police Department)

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Newport Beach police said they will seek two murder charges against Buggs.

In the Irvine case, Buggs was arrested on suspicion of attempted burglary, shooting into an inhabited dwelling, possession of a firearm by a felon, hit-and-run and evading police after a series of attempted break-ins. In the first, about 11:35 p.m. Saturday, Buggs fired at a resident who had made eye contact with him, Irvine police said.

In 1996, Buggs pleaded guilty to felony charges of vandalism and possession of a firearm, a spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said. He also was convicted of misdemeanor charges of taking property and brandishing a firearm, she said.

Miller, of Costa Mesa, was the CEO of Wings for Justice, a nonprofit advocacy group focused on issues affecting children in the family court system. She specialized in treating victims of domestic violence and abuse.

Ann McGuire, Miller’s partner at Wings for Justice, said Miller had recently spoken at a conference about domestic violence at UC Irvine.

Maguire said Miller told her several times that her work was dangerous. She feared retribution from the people who supported the court system who took sides — too often, the wrong side, Miller believed — in cases where parents alleged abuse.

“When anger goes unchecked,” Maguire said, “it grows.”

Maguire said Miller also was careful about men.

“She didn’t date,” Maguire said. “She never slept around. I think she was simply giving a man a ride home.”

Miller went to Cerritos High School and participated in several youth groups at New Life Community Church in Norwalk.

Partch was a former minor-league hockey player whose 13-year career ended in the 2005-06 season with the San Diego Gulls of the ECHL. He was recently working for Advanced Financial Services in Irvine.

Staff Writer Keith Sharon contributed to this report.