A convicted drug dealer and suspect in the murder of ex-Fox executive Gavin Smith was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury and could face the death penalty if found guilty, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
The suspect, John Creech, was indicted on one count of capital murder. The superseding grand jury indictment unsealed charges with the special circumstance of lying in wait in the May 2, 2012, murder of Smith.
The special circumstance makes Creech, who is serving an eight-year prison sentence for drug dealing, eligible for the death penalty if convicted. Prosecutors will make the decision to seek death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Creech pleaded not guilty to the capital murder charge on Wednesday. He was charged with the murder in January.
Distribution executive Smith was last seen in May 2012, and his body was found last November in a shallow grave on the south side of Palmdale near the border of Acton in the Angeles National Forest area.
In February 2013, Creech became a prime suspect when Smith’s black Mercedes Benz was found in a storage unit in Creech’s name. Smith’s wife said he met Creech while in rehab.
Smith was last seen in Oak Park, Calif., on May 1, 2012. He was 57 at the time.
Deputy district attorney Bobby Grace with the major crimes division is prosecuting the case, which remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.