EXCLUSIVE: Jane Carver was jogging a few feet from her home in the close-knit community of Fountain Valley, Calif., When the 46-year-old flight attendant was suddenly gunned down.
As the murder happened in broad daylight during the morning hours, the case almost turned cold – but it was his community that decided to come together and take action.
The case is explored in Oxygen’s new docuseries, titled “The Real Orange County Murders,” which explore some of the most gruesome crimes that rocked the affluent Southern California coastal community.
Captain Christine Murray, a retired Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigator who was involved in the search for the assassin, told Fox News the 1995 murder left the city stunned.
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“As usual, Jane went out that morning to run around Mile Square Park and the surrounding areas,” she explained. “She often ran with her husband. But that morning he had another engagement. I think he had some business to take care of at home. So Jane ran out on her own, which she has done hundreds of times. But on this particular occasion, without warning, she was approached by a male subject. By all accounts, he didn’t say anything to her. He just walked over to her and shot her.
Carver’s husband Al Carver heard screams and gunshots, prompting him to leave his home. He saw his wife lying on the ground fatally injured. He would later tell a courtroom that the back of his head was “blown off,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Fountain Valley homicide investigators have worked tirelessly on this case,” Murray said. “They looked at the relationships the Carver family had. They took a look at their finances, anything that might give an idea of who allegedly shot Jane Carver. They kept going up empty. There was no motive. Almost a year after his murder, there was no lead. “
“They got some really good witness statements,” Murray continued. “They had a pretty decent composite. And they did a great job building a profile because there was a witness who described the suspect. They had a few different pictures so they were trying to figure out who the shooter could be. Despite the car stops, interviews and round-the-clock research, there was nothing.
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Yet the Carver community persisted. According to Murray, local citizens have refused to stop posting flyers, knocking on doors to gather more information, and hold rallies. Many of Carver’s friends have also spoken to the press frequently, keeping his story alive.
“They kept the memory of Jane Carver at the forefront,” Murray explained. “When he got off the radar, they started stirring things up again. And I think that was the key to solving this case. They made everyone aware of what had happened to Jane Carver.
The murder was unsolved for a year until police arrested Leonard Mundy, who was involved in a murder plot with Premium Commercial Services Corp., the Los Angeles Times reported. According to the outlet, the Huntington Beach financial firm hired the Los Angeles electrician to pay off its $ 80,000 debt by murdering another delinquent borrower.
However, Mundy mistakenly thought the intended target was Carver. The incident is said to be linked to another matter. Paul Gordon Alleyne, a small business owner in Los Angeles that also owed Premium money, was convicted of attempting to shoot James Wengert in 1996, according to the Los Angeles Times. The 51-year-old survived the attack and identified Alleyne.
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According to the prosecution, Mundy believed Carver was in fact Wengert’s wife, Margaret “Peggy” Wengert, who filed a lawsuit against Premium. She also lived near the Carver house.
Murray said Alleyne and Mundy owned money to Premium co-founder Coleman Allen, who was ruthless in securing his funds. During the investigation into the Wengert shooting, Alleyne spoke to Mundy’s police, connecting the cases.
Wengert, the owner of a financial investigation firm, also owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to Allen. His wife accused Allen in a lawsuit of using heavy-handed tactics to take over the Wengert house in Fountain Valley.
“As we learned more about Coleman Allen, we found he was threatening violence and committing acts of violence,” she explained. “He made threats and demanded that the borrower take out life insurance policies and the amounts were well in excess of what he owed him. He was the kind of guy he was. I don’t think it was difficult for anyone to describe him as quite evil and scary at times.
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“These two men seemed to have no way of repaying Coleman Allen,” she continued. “He’s angry and threatening, but then offers an opportunity not only to escape their debts, but also his threats. So these men were ready to assassinate on behalf of Coleman Allen. Mundy found himself in a bad situation and probably felt he had no other choice. They thought the only way out of these bad situations was to shoot someone for Coleman and get away from his threats.
Murray said that thanks to the persistence of citizens eager to solve the Carver murder, Fountain Valley and Orange County police were able to connect the dots, leading to the assassin.
At 43, Mundy was sentenced in 1998 to life in prison without parole, the Los Angeles Times reported. That same year, Alleyne was sentenced to 29 years in life imprisonment for his involvement in the attempted assassination of Wengert.
Allen, who was on probation for beating another debtor with a pipe, died of heart disease in 1996 at the age of 57. At the time of his death, information and records led directly to him in the murder of Barry J. Skolnick, who also borrowed from Premium. He was shot dead at the age of 30. A $ 2.5 million life insurance policy listed Allen as the beneficiary.
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“The citizens of Fountain Valley took incredible steps in speaking to the police as soon as the murder occurred and refused to back down by participating in any way to solve the murder of Jane Carver,” Murray said. “It was this wave of community involvement that helped solve this case. They never gave up. And that only proves that you can make a huge difference in your own community.
“The Real Orange County Murders” premieres Sunday, November 8 at 7 p.m. ET on Oxygen. The Associated Press contributed to this report.