Manslaughter conviction in death of LA studio executive

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A convicted drug dealer has been found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the beating death of a Southern California movie studio executive five years ago.

A Los Angeles jury on Monday rejected first- or second-degree murder but convicted 44-year-old John Creech on the lesser charge in the killing of Gavin Smith, a 20th Century Fox distribution executive.

The prosecution said at the outset of the trial that Creech killed the 57-year-old Smith because Smith was having an affair with his wife.

Creech’s public defender said Creech hit Smith in self-defense after the executive attacked him.

Smith disappeared in 2012. His remains were found in 2014 in the desert north of Los Angeles.

At the time of Creech’s indictment he was serving an eight-year sentence for sale or transportation of drugs.

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