Although the Santa Clarita Valley is a safe, close and relatively quiet community, every now and then, a crime story catapults L.A. County’s third-largest city into the spotlight, capturing national attention.
Documentary filmmakers, TV crime show producers, radio talk show hosts and high profile media news celebrities come to the SCV for the latest sensational news story.
Siblings who kill
On Monday, June 17, producers of a true crime TV show slated to run on the Oxygen Network unpacked their lights, cameras and microphones inside The Signal newsroom.
They wanted to know all about the horrific 2006 killing of club owner Louis Campanelli.
Canyon Country brothers Christopher and Ralph Rosas were convicted in April 2011, found guilty of murder for the stabbing and bludgeoning to death of Chris Rosas’ business partner Louis Campanelli.
The producers came to the SCV because their show was about “siblings who kill.”
Producers of the show “Bride Killa” came to the SCV wanting to know all about the murder of Courtney (Burton) Arvizu.
The episode “Deadly Vows” was one of six that ran in the show’s first season.
Husbands who kill
On Sept. 17, 2017, producers for Sirens Media booked a room at the Hilton Garden Inn, in Burbank to interview this reporter who covered the preliminary hearing and murder trial in the Arivzue case.
The taping happened just one month after Robert Arvizu was sentenced to 28 years in prison;
25 years for the murder and three additional years for breaking the nose of the man he accused of flirting with her.
Courtney’s body was found inside her husband’s Newhall apartment on 9th Street, between Newhall Avenue and Chestnut Street, shortly after 1:30 a.m. on May 24, 2015. She had been punched in the face and then smothered to death, according to evidence presented by Deputy District Attorney Julie Kramer.
The producers of the show focused their attention on the troubled relationship between Courtney and her killer.
Neighbors who kill
One TV crime show that continually runs a local murder on the Investigations Discovery channel is, “Fear They Neighbor,” which is now into its fifth season.
The SCV-based episode is called, “Good Fences Make Dead Neighbors,” which aired in the show’s second season, based on the murder of Canyon Country resident Anthony Davis.
Lennie Paul Tracey killed Davis using a shotgun Sept. 24, 2011, marking the end of a vicious seven-year feud.
In November 2012, a jury found Tracey guilty of murder.
In May 2015, producers wanting to know more than what appeared in court documents interviewed this reporter who had written about Tracey for The Signal in the years leading up the murder.
With on-camera interviews logged at The Signal for siblings who kill, husbands who kill and, as with Tracey, neighbors who kill, there was still room for more killer profiles.
Contract for murder
Rich people who commit crimes was the pitch for producers who came to The Signal to learn about a high-profile murder for hire story — the story of Dino Roy Guglielmelli.
The story which ran in British tabloids as the handsome, rich entrepreneur who went to prison for contracting to have his beautiful wife killed.
Guglielmelli was sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading no contest in June 2014 to having tried to hire a hitman to kill his wife, Monica Andreny, a model who owned her own line of cosmetics.
Television, magazine and newspaper reports — both hard copy and online, here and as far away as England — have reported that the contract hit emerged from the jealous heart of a man with a gorgeous wife.
Despite the story that emerged, the truth learned by coming to Santa Clarita was that it was all about the couple’s divorce as reported by The Signal in having interviewed the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Emily Cole.
The case threatened to turn into a “media circus,” Cole said. But, then the plug on a sensational story was pulled when Guglielmelli agreed to plea deal.
As media cases go, a certain amount of beauty or celebrity goes a long in creating a cause célèbre.
So, when model and aspiring actor Adea Shabani vanished last year, media outlets once again flocked to the SCV after she was reportedly seen here.
Producers of the CNN show “Crime & Justice with Ashleigh Banfield” contacted this reporter for having covered Shabani’s disappearance. The show aired March 5, 2018.
Twenty-one days after the interview, it was revealed an actor identified as Shabani’s boyfriend, Christopher Spotz, shot and killed himself at the end of a long police chase.
The next day, LAPD detectives announced they had found human remains of Adea Shabani.