Sharp said radio message led him to kill boy — (The Ventura County Star)

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The Ventura County Star

   By Scott Hadly

Monday, December 15, 2008

Calvin Sharp told deputies he “received messages” from XM Satellite Radio to kill a 6-year-old boy and slash his mother, according to a hospital interview taken just hours after the August 2007 attack.

New details about the alleged meat-cleaver assault in a Newbury Park neighborhood were revealed in a sworn statement that was part of a search warrant reviewed by The Star.

While in an emergency room being treated for a wound to his forearm after the confrontation ­ which left Sev’n Molina, 6, dead, and his mother Sandra Ruiz, 33, clinging to life with more than 50 stab wounds ­ Sharp told detectives he’d “received messages from XM Radio that made him commit the crime,” according to the statement.

“During the first interview Sharp admitted his involvement in the murder of Sev’n and the assault of Sandra,” Ventura County Detective Sgt. Steve Rhods said in the statement.

In a jailhouse interview with The Star a week after the Aug. 12, 2007, attack, Sharp apologized to the community and said he didn’t know what happened that night.

“To the people who know me I’m still the same person I was before,” Sharp said at the time. “I’m still trying to figure out what happened.”

According to the warrant, Sharp went to Ruiz’s apartment with the intent of forcing her to have sex with him. Deputies later found items of “dominion and control” during their search of Sharp’s property.

He and Ruiz had broken off a romantic relationship about six months earlier. The two had met in 2005 and at some point began a brief romantic relationship, according to law enforcement officials. For a time, Sharp’s sons also went to the same preschool as Sev’n.

When Sharp arrived on the night of the attack, he and Ruiz quickly began to argue.

At some point, Sharp got angry at Sev’n, grabbed a meat cleaver from the kitchen and chased the boy outside, according to law enforcement accounts.

Ruiz ran after the two to defend her son. Sharp, according to authorities, killed Sev’n while also stabbing Ruiz in the head and chest. A neighbor, Diane D. Cox, also was seriously injured when she was slashed in the face as she and another neighbor tried to stop Sharp.

Cox, who was recognized for her heroism recently, was treated for blunt force trauma to the side of her head, including a fracture and face laceration demanding stitches. Ruiz, who has moved from the area and asked not to be disturbed by the media, underwent extensive hospitalization for treatment of severe injuries.

When deputies arrived at the scene of the attack, it took four of them and a taser gun to subdue Sharp, according to the warrant. Blood tests taken after the slaying showed traces of marijuana and anti-depressants in Sharp’s system.

The now 29-year-old father of two is waiting to be arraigned on a litany of charges, including murder and attempted murder, special circumstances charges, felony mayhem and a felony cruelty to an animal, stemming from the killing of his own dog, Knuckles. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Defense attorneys have indicated they might argue that he is not guilty by reason of insanity.

Neither the prosecutor in the case, Senior Deputy District Attorney Maeve Fox, nor Sharp’s defense attorney, Deputy Public Defender Todd Howath, would comment on the case.

After a year-long effort, The Star’s attorney, Ron Bamieh, was able to get a heavily redacted version of the search warrant unsealed. But late last month, a reporter with the Star was provided a largely unredacted version of that warrant that included some new details. It revealed there were suspicions about Sharp’s state of mind almost immediately after his arrest.

Along with searching Sharp’s van and the motel room he was living in at the time, investigators obtained search warrants for his medical records. The records could “shed light on whether any underlying medical or psychological problem may have played a part in Sharp’s actions which culminated in the murder of Sev’n,” according to a sworn statement that was part of that search warrant.

The warrant also includes more details about Sharp’s prior run-ins with authorities. Although court records show that apart from a handful of traffic violations he had no prior criminal record ­ friends have described him to The Star as friendly and a good father ­ he has had prior contact with sheriff’s deputies.

Some of those contacts have already been reported by The Star, but the warrant includes a few new details.

In one incident listed as a domestic violence incident reported in October of 2006, Sharp allegedly kicked in the door of the home of his wife and two children on Blackwood Street in Newbury Park.

The statements included details about his “anger problems,” and concerns from his wife and mother that he’d threatened to harm them.

In another incident in March of 2007, deputies responded to a report of a burglary. They found about $3,000 in damages to windows and a big screen TV at the home on Blackwood.

At some point after that incident, his wife took their two children out of the local elementary school and moved out of the house.

A deputy spoke to Sharp a few days later “Sharp crying and very dramatic in his actions” telling the deputy that he “could not take it anymore,” according to details in the warrant.