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Jamon Buggs found guilty of gunning down 2 at Newport Beach home in hunt for ex-girlfriend

Personal trainer found guilty for double-murder 00:40

A personal trainer from Huntington Beach was convicted Tuesday of the 2019 murders of two people in Newport Beach he believed were his ex-girlfriend and a man with whom he believed she was romantically involved.

Jamon Rayon Buggs, 47, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder  with a special circumstance of multiple murders, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office. He was also convicted with one count each of possession of a firearm by a felon and attempted first-degree burglar, and faces a sentencing enhancement of personal discharge of a firearm causing death.

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Newport Beach, CA - April 19: Jamon Buggs, accused of execution-style shootings of a man and woman, on his first day of trial in the court of Judge Gregg Prickett in Dept. H2, Harbor Justice Center on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 in Newport Beach, CA. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) Irfan Khan

Buggs was convicted of killing 38-year-old Darren Donald Partch of Newport Beach and 48-year-old Wendi Sue Miller of Costa Mesa. They were found shot to death inside Partch's home in the 2100 block of East 15th Street in Newport Beach on April 21, 2019. Prosecutors say Buggs had threatened Partch to stay away from his girlfriend twice before, even though Partch said he did not have a relationship with her. Miller had given Partch a ride home after meeting him a few hours earlier and did not know Buggs, prosecutors said.

In the weeks and days leading up the murders, prosecutors said Buggs scoured the internet to find information on Partch, looking for his cell phone number, current and former addresses, photographs of him. Cell phone data also placed Buggs at Partch's former and current residences several times, including the night Partch and Miller were murdered, prosecutors said. 

Eighteen hours after the murders, prosecutors say Buggs tried to break into an Irvine apartment he wrongly believed to belong to a chiropractor he suspected was also involved with his ex-girlfriend, but he fired a shot and ran off when the woman living there spotted him. According to prosecutors, police recovered the bullet and set up surveillance at the complex. When Buggs drove up in his Camaro the next night, police gave chase and found a gun during a search of the neighborhood that matched the one used in the murders of Partch and Miller. Prosecutors say DNA linked Buggs to the weapons and the bullets.

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said Buggs would have kept hunting and killing if he had not been arrested.

"Darren Partch and Wendi Miller were executed at the hands of a jealous ex-boyfriend who was hunting for the woman he was obsessed with," Spitzer said in a statement. "This was not a heat of passion crime; this was a systemic and methodical plot to exact revenge and eliminate his rivals — real or perceived."

Buggs is scheduled to be sentenced on June 3. Because he has a prior strike for assault on a police officer, he faces a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

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