Courts & Law

HB man guilty in 2017 murders

A HUNTINGTON BEACH man was convicted Wednesday in the 2017 murder of two women in Westminster (Shutterstock).

A Huntington Beach man was convicted on Wednesday of the 2017 murder of two women at a party in Westminster, and then setting a fire to cover his crimes.

Christopher Ken Ireland, 42, was found guilty in Central Justice Center in Santa Ana of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of arson.


He faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

Ireland was convicted 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., and dragged the bodies of the women into the trunk of his vehicle shortly before 4 a.m. He then set fire to the home and drove away around 4:30 a.m., according to police, 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.


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