By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
Hilbert Pinell Thomas, 39, of Garden Grove was arraigned Friday for the alleged double homicide of Matthew Francis Scott and Elizabeth Ann Palmer at the Golden Sun Homes business office in Stanton.
Thomas pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of special circumstances murder. The case is classified as special circumstances because Thomas allegedly killed Scott and Palmer during a robbery and burglary.
Thomas has also been charged with one count of second-degree robbery, one count of second-degree commercial burglary and the unlawful taking of a vehicle.
Currently, Thomas is being held without bail. If he is convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum sentence of life without parole. Thomas is eligible for the death penalty based on the special circumstances in these charges.
According to the Orange County district attorney’s office, Palmer and Scott were shot “execution style” on February 2, 2009. Thomas is accused of walking into the business office of Golden Sun Homes, at 12331 Beach Blvd. between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Scott, a sales associate and son of the owner, and Palmer, the secretary, were found behind Palmer’s desk.
Thomas then left the scene in Palmer’s Lexus GS 300 sedan. The sedan was the key item in the investigation and is what led authorities to finding Thomas.
Thomas was apprehended in October, after authorities located his car parked at the el Dorado Inn on Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim.
After a watching the complex, police searched his apartment and car on October 28, locating a gun that was later tested as a match to the weapon used in the murder.
Thomas had been driving the car for six months, which authorities say is highly unusual.
The pre-trial is set for May 21 at 8:30 a.m. at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.