Prosecutor: Wife killed over child support
SANTA ANA – A husband murdered his estranged wife, and then staged the crime scene to throw the authorities off his trail, a county prosecutor told jurors Tuesday.
But William Gregory Mordick was really the killer who slashed the throat of Katherine O'Connell Mordick, 28, in her Anaheim Hills home on Jan. 22, 1983, Deputy District Attorney Dan Wagner said.
"The intent in this crime was not to steal and not to rape,'' Wagner said. "The intent from the get go was to kill."
The prosecutor alleges Mordick, now 64, killed Katherine when he stopped at the home to pick up his daughters, then 2, and 4, to take them to a girl's birthday party.
There were no signs of forced entry, and nothing stolen from the home, he said. Katherine also wasn't sexually assaulted – though she was nude from the waist down, he added.
Closing arguments were given Tuesday in the murder re-trial of Mordick, a commercial photographer who accused of killing his wife 27 years ago in order to avoid paying child support.
The timing of the slaying suggests Mordick was the murderer, Wagner told jurors.
Mordick, who hoped to reconcile with his wife, was served with divorce papers about two weeks before Katherine's killing.
The couple also were due to attend a divorce hearing in late January – when a judge could have ordered him to pay child support, the prosecutor added.
Jurors reviewed excerpts of Mordick's diary entries around the time of the slaying, including one entry in which Mordick writes about his concern about paying $124,800 in child support payments. In other entries, he worries that Katherine's "anger" toward him will be carried over to the girls.
"He's afraid and suspicious ... (that) she's poisoning their minds against him,'' Wagner said.
After his wife's killing, Mordick moved with the couple's daughters to Washington. In 2008, authorities charged him with Katherine's murder and said DNA technology not available in 1983 linked him to physical evidence at the crime scene.