An Orange County sheriff's deputy was arrested today on charges that he helped a convicted murderer have sex with his wife while behind bars and smuggled drugs into jail in exchange for Los Angeles Kings tickets and other bribes.
David Lloyd Cass, 38, of Glendora, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday on two felony counts of bribery, said Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Olivieri.
Cass had been on paid administrative leave for the past 11 months, but is now on unpaid leave, said Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The deputy's supervisors asked him to come today into sheriff's headquarters, where he was arrested.
Cass has worked as a deputy for the past seven years and was assigned to custody operations in the Orange County Mens' Jail facility, sheriff's officials said.
Part of Cass' duties involved working near the rooms in the jail where inmates meet with their attorneys to discuss their cases, Olivieri said.
Cass is accused of helping convicted murderer Stephenson Choi Kim have sex with his wife, Ha Nguyen, whom he married in August 2010 before his trial began, Olivieri said. Cass also allegedly let Nguyen smuggle in contraband such as food, razors, a cell phone, prescription drugs and marijuana, which Kim would sell to other inmates, the prosecutor said. Kim was convicted in March 2011 of a March 13, 2004, shooting spree at the 5th Wave Cafe that killed 21-year-old Venus Hyun and wounded four others. Prosecutors sought the death penalty for Kim, but jurors deadlocked 7-5 against recommending execution.
Kim, who was sentenced on April 27, 2012, to life in prison without the possibility of parole, opened fire in the cafe because he thought one of the victims had ties to a rival gang that had beaten him up, according to trial testimony.
Nguyen, 32, who was arrested last February, faces multiple felony charges in connection with the case. She is due in court July 26.
At Kim's request, in December 2010, a judge signed an order allowing Nguyen to be a “legal assistant runner” in Kim's case, Olivieri said. Court officials were unaware of the marriage at that time, the prosecutor noted.
Cass met Kim on the job and began allowing the defendant engage in prohibited activity with Nguyen in 2009, Olivieri alleged. Cass is also accused of at least once warning Kim when another deputy would search him so he and his wife could avoid exchanging drugs or contraband, Olivieri said.
Cass allegedly accepted bribes such as four tickets to a Los Angeles Kings game, gift certificates to Burke Williams Spa and various restaurants, Olivieri said. The two defendants are also accused of offering to help Cass meet women and get VIP treatment at cafes in Westminster and Garden Grove, the prosecutor said.
The case was put together in part based on thousands of hours of secretly recorded phone conversations, Olivieri said. Also, on New Year's Eve in 2011, Kim was searched in jail and deputies found a cell phone and marijuana, prompting an investigation of how the contraband was smuggled into the jail, Olivieri said.
If convicted, Cass could face up to four years and eight months in prison.