Two men, including a Long Beach resident, and a 17-year-old boy pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murder and other counts linked to the death of a Downey man during a home-invasion robbery in January.
Anaheim resident Paul Darvis Misikei, 18, Henry Willie Sao, 28, of Long Beach, and Sakaopo Atanasio Folau, who is 17 and being prosecuted as an adult, were charged January 20 with one count each of murder, home-invasion robbery and first-degree burglary with a person present, officials said. The murder charge includes the special circumstance allegation that the victim, 59-year-old Jim Rudometkin, was killed during the commission of a robbery and residential burglary.
Prosecutors have not decided yet whether to seek the death penalty against Sao and Misikei. Folau can only face up to life in prison if convicted as charged because of his age.
A fourth defendant, Michael Harrod, 24, was charged February 2 with one count each of murder, home-invasion robbery and first-degree burglary with a person present. He pleaded not guilty that day and could face up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted as charged.
Harrod allegedly planned the robbery with Misikei, Sao and Folau and drove them to the Downey neighborhood January 17, according to prosecutors.
An autopsy determined Rudometkin died from blunt force trauma—he had been struck multiple times on the head and been “bound by ligature”—with heart disease also a factor, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter.
Neighbors said Rudometkin was a well-liked realtor who had lived alone since his father’s death.
City News Service contributed to this report.