A dead man who appeared to have been killed by blunt force trauma to the head was found Sunday morning, June 3, in the 1500 block of Palisades Park, near the Camera Obscura building on Ocean Avenue near the base of the Pier.
Santa Monica Police officers responded at approximately 8 a.m. and found the 37-year-old Caucasian, later identified as Reza Homabadi Tehrani, believed to be homeless, lying on a park bench adjacent to the Senior Citizen Center with blood on his face; they determined that he was dead. “Although this is an ongoing murder investigation,” said SMPD Lt. Alex Padilla, “it appears that the victim had died as a result of blunt force trauma that he received to his head. It is unknown how long the victim had been dead prior to being discovered,” he added.
After reviewing public video images recorded on the Promenade and the Pier, SMPD detectives saw a suspect holding a three-foot pipe, presumed to be the murder weapon, and a bulletin including a photograph was circulated. Officers on the Promenade recognized one Joshua Dante Chiaromonte, a 32-year-old homeless Caucasian man.
On Tuesday, June 5, 2007, at 6 a.m., Chiaromonte was arrested by the Santa Monica Police Department for trespassing and a probation violation. He was transported to LAX Court for these charges. After Chiaromonte was identified by the officers assigned to the Promenade, detectives went to the courthouse and arrested Chiaromonte for Tehrani’s murder.
Chiaromonte is also believed, according to police, to be responsible for another assault and attempted murder that occurred on Sunday, June 3, 2007, at approximately 2 a.m. in the 200 block of Santa Monica Boulevard. In this incident, the victim’s injuries were also caused by blunt forced trauma. The victim was hospitalized for non-life-threatening injuries, and has been identified as John Pohlman, who is 59 years old and also homeless.
Chiaromonte was previously charged and convicted of a similar assault that occurred in Santa Monica in December 2006. In that incident, the victim was also homeless. Chiaromonte was released and placed on probation after serving time in jail.
The police add: “Anyone having information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Robbery/Homicide Detail of the Santa Monica Police Department at 310.458.8451 or the Watch Commander’s Office at 310.458.8427. Callers who wish to provide anonymous information may also call the WeTip national hotline at 1.800.78.CRIME (27463). Callers with information leading to an arrest and conviction may become eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.”