Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Case # 09ZF0078
December 10, 2009 VIRGINIA MAN INDICTED FOR MURDERING 71-YEAR-OLD INVESTOR AFTER LURING VICTIM ONTO BOAT UNDER PRETENSE OF MEETING FEDERAL AGENTS FOR TOP SECRET INVESTMENT DEAL
SANTA ANA – A Virginia man was indicted today for murdering a 71-year-old victim by luring him onto a boat under the false pretense of meeting federal agents on San Clemente Island to discuss a top secret investment deal and disposing of his body in the ocean. Gary A. Shawkey, 46, Mechanicsville, VA, has been indicted on one felony count of special circumstances murder for financial gain, one felony count of grand theft, and a sentencing enhancement for stealing over $200,000. The defendant is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment Dec. 17, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In February 2009, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office released a press release with the following information:
Between January 2004 and February 2008, Shawkey is accused of swindling approximately $1 million from Robert Vendrick, a 71-year-old retired Phoenix man who had worked in the software industry. The defendant is accused of convincing Vendrick to invest in imaginary investments with the promise of high returns.
As the victim became reluctant to continue investing money with Shawkey, the defendant is accused of persuading Vendrick to invest in a new venture involving the development of top secret computer software for the federal government. The defendant is accused of convincing Vendrick to wire $100,000 to a bank account in Shawkey’s name and telling the victim to fly to Orange County to meet with federal agents to finalize the project.
In February 2008, the defendant and the victim arrived in Orange County. Shawkey is accused of purchasing a 23-foot sailboat and convincing the victim to sail with him to San Clemente Island to meet with federal agents. Shawkey and Vendrick got on the boat and sailed out of Dana Point Harbor. The victim was never seen again.
Sometime between Feb. 14, 2008, and Feb. 24, 2008, Shawkey is accused of murdering Vendrick and disposing of the body for financial gain.
In February 2009, Shawkey was arrested in Virginia on unrelated theft charges. He was in custody in Virginia when charges were filed against him for the murder of Vendrick that same month. The defendant was extradited to Orange County March 26, 2009, to face those charges.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.