Drug dealer gets 11 years in killing of LA studio exec

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A convicted drug dealer was sentenced Tuesday in California to 11 years in prison in the beating death of a movie studio executive who had been having an affair with his wife.

John Lenzie Creech, 45, was convicted in July of voluntary manslaughter in the killing of Gavin Smith, a 20th Century Fox distribution executive.

Smith’s body was found in a shallow desert grave two years after he was reported missing in 2012.

A jury rejected first- and second-degree murder charges.

Before sentencing, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus called Creech “a cold and cruel person.”

“Mr. Creech has shown no remorse in this case whatsoever,” the judge said. “He has attempted to sort of paint himself as the total victim in this case and the court does not find, in my view of the evidence, that that’s true.”

Prosecutors said Creech killed Smith because Smith was having an affair with Creech’s estranged wife, Chandrika Cade. She and Creech had met in drug rehab and been in a sporadic affair for years.

In May 2012, they were having a romantic rendezvous inside Smith’s Mercedes-Benz sedan in a Los Angeles neighborhood when Creech found them through an iPhone app that allowed him to track his wife’s phone.

In the fight that followed, Creech crushed Smith’s skull on both sides, according to an autopsy.

Nearly a year later, the Mercedes, with Smith’s blood on it, was found in a storage facility connected to Creech.

Smith’s remains were eventually found in a shallow grave in the desert north of Los Angeles.

Creech testified that Smith had thrown the first punch and he defended himself.
Creech was serving an eight-year sentence for the sale or transportation of drugs when he was indicted for the killing.

Featured Image: This file photo released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department shows missing 20th Century Fox executive Gavin Smith. John Lenzie Creech was convicted in July of voluntary manslaughter in the slaying of Gavin Smith, a 20th Century Fox distribution executive. (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department via AP, File)