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By Shawn Raymundo

An Irvine man could face a life sentence after being convicted Friday, Dec. 7, of murdering his business partner for financial gain in their San Juan Capistrano office back in 2010.

Edward Younghoon Shin, 41, was found guilty in the death of 33-year-old Christopher Ryan Smith of Laguna Beach. The pair co-owned 800XChange, an internet advertising business, at 29222 Rancho Viejo Road.

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, after Shin murdered Smith in June 2010, he disposed of the body and forged documents in Smith’s name, signing the rights of the business over to himself.

Edward Younghoon Shin. Photo: OCSD
Edward Younghoon Shin. Photo: OCSD

The Capistrano Dispatch reported in 2011 that Shin had also used Smith’s email to send messages, giving the impression that Smith was still alive.

An investigation into Smith’s whereabouts launched in April 2011 after his family reported him missing to the Laguna Beach Police Department. Evidence later found, indicating that the victim was killed at the San Juan Capistrano office, prompted the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) to take over the investigation.

Shin in August 2011 was aboard a flight that was preparing to take off for Canada when authorities with the OCSD arrested him.

Shin’s sentence hearing is scheduled for Feb. 1, when he could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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