Content warning: This article contains descriptions of violence that some readers may find triggering.
Oxygen’s The Real Murders of Orange County explores “the most horrific, sinful, and salacious cases that rocked Southern California’s wealthy coastal community,” according to the network. The first episode focuses on the murder of Jane Carver, a flight attendant who was shot and killed near her Fountain Valley home in 1995 — in a botched murder for hire involving a local financial company.
Here’s what you need to know about Jane Carver’s murder as you watch the series premiere of The Real Murders of Orange County.
What happened to Jane Carver?
Jane Carver was a 46-year-old flight attendant who lived in Fountain Valley, California. On June 10, 1995, she was shot in the face and killed yards from her home when returning home from a morning jog. The killing, which was unsolved for a year, baffled both police and the local community.
Who killed Jane Carver?
Carver was killed by mistake by a hitman, according to the Los Angeles Times. Leonard Owen Mundy, the contract killer and an electrician, was looking for another woman — Margaret Wengert, the wife of James Wengert, the owner of a financial investigation firm who owed more than $400,000 to Premium Commercial Services, a Huntington Beach finance company. Margaret Wengert had accused Coleman Allen, the founder of Premium Commercial Services, of trying to seize their Fountain Valley home with strongarm tactics, according to the Associated Press.
The couple lived about a mile from Carver. Residents who knew both women said Carver, who was blonde, did not resemble Margaret Wengert, who was 49 at the time and had brown hair. Carver was known for jogging, while Wengert wasn’t — she walked her dog in the neighborhood every morning instead.
How was Carver’s hitman killer caught?
Mundy was arrested in 1996 after a Christine Murray, a sheriff’s homicide investigator, noticed similarities between Carver’s murder and the attempted murder of James Wengert. Both were shot point-blank in the face; Wengert, however, survived, and Paul Alleyne, the owner of an auto parts store, was charged with his murder. Alleyne was associated with Allen’s business, Premium Commercial Services, and after interviews with employees, Mundy’s name surfaced. Witnesses also identified Mundy as a man wearing a sports coat who “calmly” shot Carver and walked away.
Mundy initially denied the murder and claimed he was also threatened by Allen over a $30,000 repayment.
What happened to Mundy?
A jury convicted Mundy of first-degree murder in June 1998. It accepted the prosecution’s theory that he was involved in a murder plot with Premium Commercial Service to clear his debt. The jury also convicted him of lying in wait and killing for financial penalty. Prosecution initially sought the death penalty for Mundy but changed tack before the trial began. In August 1998, Mundy was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
According to the L.A. Times, Al Carver, Jane Carver’s husband, said outside court, “She was no match for the bullet of an assassin. An assassin who walked up to her and terrorized her.”