A man accused of murdering two women in Westminster and then setting fire to a house to hide the crimes was arraigned Friday in Central Justice Center in Santa Ana. Christopher Ken Ireland, 37, of Huntington Beach, will face two charges of special circumstances murder with sentencing enhancements for multiple murders, one felony count of arson of an inhabited property and one felony count of aggravated mayhem.
If he is convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without parole. Ireland is being held without bail and is set to appear for a pre-trial hearing on Feb. 16 in West Justice Center in Westminster.
He is accused of killing both Yolanda Holtrey, 59, of Westminster and her friend, Michelle Luke, 49, at Holtrey’s home in Westminster around 1:20 a.m. after attending a New Year’s party on Jan. 1, 2017. Police say that Ireland struck both women “multiple times” with a sharp instrument” and disfigured Luke’s ear during the attack.
Ireland then left the scene – a home in the 5000 block of Northwestern Way – and returned around 3 a.m., it’s alleged, and dragged the bodies of the women into the trunk of his vehicle shortly before 4:30 a.m. He then set fire to the home and drove away around 4 a.m., police claim, before driving to a dead-end road and dumping the bodies in a vacant lot.
Neighbors called 911 to report the blaze, and firefighters noticed blood on the furniture and floor. Westminster police investigated and located the victim’s bodies and arrested Ireland.
Categories: Courts & Law