A judge at the LAX branch courthouse is expected to set a preliminary hearing date today for 53-year-old Patrick David Salmon, who Santa Monica detectives believe committed a homicide more than 30 years ago.
After a nearly two year investigation, Salmon was arrested on May 17, 2012 at his home in Shaler Township, Pennsylvania, by members of the Santa Monica and Shaler Township Police Departments.
Salmon was arrested in connection with the murder of Joaquin Mansion, 16, who was shot to death during a home-invasion robbery that occurred on May 21, 1980 in the 700 block of Marine Street.
Two juvenile co-conspirators were located, arrested and convicted of the robbery and homicide in the months following the crime, but the adult gunman, a transient known to acquaintances only by a nickname, was never identified.
The investigation was ultimately suspended for nearly three decades until finally reopened by Santa Monica’s Cold Case Unit.
Unlike typical cold cases, this one was not solved with DNA.
Nonetheless, newer technology still played a vital role in identifying a suspect in this crime. Substantial improvements in electronic law enforcement and open source databases since 1980 provided valuable leads that were unavailable to detectives in 1980.
This information took detectives to Illinois, South Dakota, and Pennsylvania, ultimately pointing them toward Salmon.
Evidence identifying Salmon as the gunman from the 1980 homicide was located and Salmon was taken into custody.
He is currently being held in the Los Angeles Men’s Central Jail in downtown LA with bail set at $1,050,000.