Posted: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 – 11:09 AM
A Whittier business owner was named Friday as a person of interest in two homicides, including the 2009 killing of prominent civil litigation attorney Jeffrey Tidus, who had successfully sued the business owner and his company.
Richard Wall, 64, owner of a Whittier business called Welded Fixtures, was also named as a person of interest in the killing of one of his former employees, Juan Mendez, who was gunned down at his Whittier home on Feb. 26, 2011.
Sheriff’s officials did not discuss details of why Wall was named a person of interest. However, Tidus once represented a businessman who sued Wall and one of his friends, former tax attorney Christopher Gruys, over the handling of a business transaction. That lawsuit led to a nearly $2 million damages verdict for the plaintiff. The jury also ordered Wall and his business to pay $700,000 in punitive damages, although an appeals court overturned the punitive damage award in November 2009, about two weeks before Tidus’ death, according to a report by the Metropolitan News-Enterprise.
“After many years of a lengthy investigation, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide detectives are getting closer to discovering the circumstances surrounding the execution-style murder of 53-year-old Jeffrey Tidus,” sheriff’s department officials said Friday.
Tidus was killed about 8:30 p.m. Dec. 7, 2009, outside his home in Rolling Hills Estates after he attended a fundraiser in Redondo Beach.
“Jeffrey often brought work home with him,” according to the sheriff’s department. “When he stepped out of his home to retrieve his work laptop computer from his vehicle, which was parked in his driveway, unknown assailant or assailants came up from behind Jeffrey and shot him once in the head.”
Tidus died the following day at a hospital.
On May 31 of this year, detectives released a composite sketch of a person of interest in the killing, who was described as a black man in his 30s.
Wall is described as white, 6 feet tall, weighing about 175 pounds.
Earlier this year, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved and announced a reward of $10,000 for information on the Tidus killing, and an additional $90,000 was added by the Tidus’ family.
The rewards were offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the killing of Tidus, and the reward also was in effect for information on the killing of Mendez, the sheriff’s department reported.
Anyone with information about the case was urged to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500, or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.