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Three Californians arrested in connection with O'Brien murder

A California man with a lengthy criminal record and two others are being held in a Los Angeles County jail in connection with the shooting death of a man in the O'Brien area last week.

Oregon State Police issued a news bulletin Thursday announcing the arrest of Lieth Samir Mohammad, 29, of Burbank, Calif., on a warrant for aggravated murder in the Nov. 4 slaying of 25-year-old Jason A. George. 

On Friday, OSP announced two more had been arrested by Burbank police and face charges in relation to the O'Brien murder: Nicholas Scarnechia, 26, and Kacey Ann Brunson, 25, both of Castaic, California. Scarnechia is being held on charges of murder, first- and second-degree robbery and first-degree burglary; Brunson faces similar robbery and burglary charges.

OSP previously said little about the case, other than waiting nearly two days to confirm scanner traffic that a man had been found shot to death Nov. 4 at 595 Waldo Road and that the unidentified killer was on the loose.

On Thursday the agency said detectives have since established Mohammad as a person of interest in the case and that he was arrested Tuesday by police in Burbank on an unrelated charge.

According to court records, a warrant was issued Wednesday by Josephine County Circuit Court Judge Pat Wolke and served on Mohammad in a Los Angeles County jail Thursday.

A 22-page affidavit in support of the warrant was sealed by Wolke at the request of prosecutors. However, according to charging documents in the case, Mohammad is accused of shooting George during the commission of a burglary and robbery at the Waldo Road dwelling.

Mohammad also is charged with unlawful use of a weapon and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

No other details were immediately available. Detectives previously have said George was originally from North Carolina, but had been residing in the Cave Junction area for the last couple of years.

Mohammad, meanwhile, has a lengthy arrest record in Southern California, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

In fact, he has been arrested several times this year, including as recently as Oct. 8. Jail records do not indicate what the charges were, however.

The homicide was the sixth in Josephine County this year and the first since Sept. 29, when 46-year-old Jeffrey W. Hunsaker was shot to death on Arrowhead Drive, not far from Waldo Road.

OSP has released few details in that case, except to say that the person who called in the report of the shooting was cooperating with detectives. No arrests have been reported.

Hunsaker was the same person who was wounded in an exchange of gunfire on Arrowhead Drive in April 2015 that killed 43-year-old Warren Batie of Utah.

All six homicides in the county this year have occurred in rural areas — three in the Illinois Valley, one in Murphy, one in Hugo and one west of Grants Pass.

OSP is the lead investigative agency for major crimes in the county because the Sheriff's Office had to ax its detective division following massive budget cuts in 2012.