A man from California faces murder charges following an alleged incident where he reportedly used a fire extinguisher to beat a woman to death.

Busy Bee
Busy Bee November 22, 2023
Updated 2023/11/22 at 10:36 AM

A California bartender has been taken into custody and is facing charges of special circumstances murder in connection with the alleged beating death of a woman with a fire extinguisher, as reported by authorities.

On November 12, law enforcement responded to a report of a deceased woman discovered in a secluded area in Laguna Beach. The Orange County Sheriff Coroner’s Division subsequently identified the victim as 27-year-old Tatum Goodwin from San Clemente, according to a statement by the Laguna Beach police.

Following the collection of evidence, investigators honed in on 26-year-old Dino Rojas-Moreno as a suspect in the woman’s demise, according to the City of Laguna Beach. Rojas-Moreno was apprehended on November 15.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has filed charges against Rojas-Moreno, including one felony count of murder, a felony enhancement for the special circumstances of committing the murder during a kidnapping, and another felony enhancement for the personal use of a weapon, specifically a fire extinguisher, as outlined in a news release.

He is currently being held on a $1 million bail. The lifeless body of Goodwin was discovered by a construction worker around 8:20 a.m. on November 12 at a construction site along S. Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. The victim had been positioned beneath a chain-link fence, with a sandbag placed over her head.

Rojas-Moreno is alleged to have approached Goodwin at approximately 1 a.m. on November 12 in a parking lot near the eventual discovery site of her body. The District Attorney’s office reports that he assaulted her by her car.

Afterwards, Rojas-Moreno allegedly forcibly moved her to the rear of the parking lot, through a short alley, and into a secluded area behind a movie theatre under construction. In this secluded area, he is accused of fatally beating Goodwin with a fire extinguisher.

On the day of Goodwin’s murder, Rojas-Moreno failed to report to work, asserting that he had been attacked by a group of men in Santa Ana.

It remains unclear whether Rojas-Moreno and Goodwin were acquainted, despite both working in the Laguna Beach area. Goodwin’s family, as reported by NBC Los Angeles, claimed no familiarity with Rojas-Moreno.

Carmelita’s Restaurants, where Goodwin served as an assistant manager for four years, initiated a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for memorial services and to establish a memorial in the city. Marcos Salim Heredia, the owner of Carmelita’s, described Goodwin as a hardworking individual who consistently maintained a cheerful demeanor, expressing a sense of familial connection over the years.

Rojas-Moreno was employed as a bartender at The Royal Hawaiian Fire Grill, as reported by The Orange County Register.

Police investigations have determined that this incident is isolated, assuring the community that there is no ongoing threat.

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer expressed, “The loss of an innocent life is a tragedy for the entire community. It is truly heartbreaking that a young woman, with her entire future ahead of her, had her life brutally taken away and discarded as if her existence had no significance. She did matter, and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office is dedicated to ensuring that justice is served.”

Rojas-Moreno is set to be arraigned on November 20 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

The special circumstances charge implies that Rojas-Moreno could face the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole if found guilty.

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