Naturalized Pakistani man killed wife’s family because she joined U.S. Navy

Samuel Ejaz during his arrest (right) and arraignment (left) in 2015.

A naturalized Pakistani man in California was sentenced Friday to serve two life terms without possibility of parole, plus four additional life terms, after he pleaded guilty to shooting his estranged wife and her cousin, and killing her aunt and uncle.

Samuel Ejaz pleaded to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder, spousal abuse and enhancements for personal use of a firearm for the attack, which was the culmination of an ongoing domestic dispute with his estranged wife, reports Monterey County Now.

Ejaz killed Felicidad Legaspi, 51, of Salinas, and Oliver Legaspi, 64, of Salinas, outside a Social Security office Aug. 27, 2015. They were the aunt and uncle of Ejaz’s estranged wife. He also shot his wife and wife’s cousin, however, they survived.

KSBW News reports the District Attorney released case details in a press release after Ejaz’s sentencing:

“Monterey County District Attorney Dean D. Flippo announced that on April 14, 2017, Samuel Ejaz, 51 of Garden Grove, Calif. was sentenced by Judge Julie Culver to two life terms without the possibility of parole, plus four additional life terms for the two murders and two attempted murders occurring at the Social Security office in Salinas on August 17, 2015, all with the use of a semi-automatic handgun.”

“On Aug. 27, 2015, Mr. Ejaz a naturalized citizen from Pakistan, shot and killed his estranged wife’s aunt and uncle, and attempted to kill his wife and her cousin, severely injuring them both.”

“This shooting arose out of an ongoing marital dispute between Ejaz and his wife, age 27. Ejaz’s wife, Jane Doe, emigrated from the Philippines just months before they were married on March 15, 2015.”

“According to Jane Doe, the disputes centered on Ejaz attempting to control every aspect of Jane Doe’s life, including the type of job she could work at, freedom to leave and return to the home as she pleased, and the manner of greeting him when he came home from work. At one point during the months of tension, Jane Doe escaped to a women’s shelter.”

“Following her return home, he made implied threats of buying a gun to kill her, so she abruptly left and enlisted in the United States Navy.”

“Jane Doe’s enlistment into the Navy enraged Ejaz. He began a plot to kill her. He purchased a 9mm handgun, and stalked her as she worked her way through boot camp and technical training.”

“He continue emailing her and telephoning her incessantly. Ejaz tried to contact her through her aunt and uncle whom he knew lived in Salinas, having visited their house once before the wedding. Ejaz learned from Navy personnel that she was scheduled for a two week furlough on Aug. 25, 2015, and he guessed, correctly, that she would visit her aunt and uncle in Salinas.”

“The night before the murders, Ejaz checked into a motel two blocks from the aunt and uncle’s house. He drove by the house conducting surveillance by taking pictures of their home and car.”

“The next morning he waited and watched from a distance, until all four victims emerged from the house and got into the aunt’s car to go the to the Salinas Social Security office for an appointment.”

“Ejaz followed the aunt’s car to the Social Security parking lot, pulling in behind the victims, blocking them from leaving. He then retrieved his 9mm handgun from the trunk of his car and pointed it at his wife who had gotten out of the car to try to talk with him.”

“She began begging him not to shoot her. She immediately saw the futility of her attempt, and began to run. He shot at her twice, hitting her once in the back. Once Jane Doe had been struck and was lying on the ground bleeding, Ejaz turned towards the car and saw the aunt who was apparently getting out of the car to help Jane Doe.”

“He fired at her three times, killing her instantly. He then walked up to the car shot
twice at the uncle, killing him where he sat, and then shot the cousin once before he ran out of ammunition.”

“A Good Samaritan witness to the shooting approached as Ejaz returned to his wife and began talking to her as she lay bleeding in the parking lot. The witness convinced Ejaz to set down the gun and give up a second magazine loaded with more ammunition.”

“Jane Doe’s life was saved by this Good Samaritan, superb work by the Salinas Police Department, American Medical Response paramedics, and the medical team at Natividad Medical Center.”

“Ejaz was immediately arrested without a struggle, and provided law enforcement with a full confession. He said that he killed the aunt, uncle and tried to kill the cousin because they helped his wife ‘get away from him.’”

“Ejaz was charged with double first degree murder, and murder while lying in wait. These charges made this case eligible for the death penalty. The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office agreed not to pursue the death penalty. This decision took into consideration the surviving victim’s wishes for Ejaz to spend the rest of his life in prison, his plea of guilty to all charges and Ejaz’s waiver of his appellate rights, thereby bringing permanent closure for the family.”

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  • Jim Verchio is a staff writer for Popular Military. As a retired Air Force Public Affairs craftsman, Jim has served at all levels. From staff writer to Editor-In-Chief, he has more than 30 years experience covering military topics in print and broadcast from the CONUS to Afghanistan. He is also a two time recipient of the DoD’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for journalism excellence.

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