Trial set to begin in drug money murder

Palm Desert man accused of killing Palm Springs woman for her drug money

Jeff Stahl, KESQ News Channel 3 Morning News Anchor, jstahl@kesq.com
POSTED: 05:26 AM PST Dec 11, 2012 
INDIO, Calif. -

Opening statements were scheduled Tuesday in the trial of a Palm Desert man accused of killing a Palm Springs woman to steal $7,500 that she had allegedly planned to use to buy a pound of marijuana from him.

Sean Michael Mihajson, 24, is charged with murder in the October 2007 slaying of 36-year-old Shalonda Morris. His twin sister, Vanesa Michelle Mihajson, was convicted in October 2011 of being an accessory to a felony and was sentenced to three years probation and 120 hours of community service.

Alternate jurors will be chosen this morning, and attorneys are expected to give opening statements in the afternoon.

Morris was last seen on the afternoon of Oct. 12, 2007, when she left her home in the 61000 block of Wilson Road to meet Mihajson at his Palm Desert condominium, according to prosecutors.

Deputy District Attorney Pete Nolan told jurors during Vanesa Mihajson's trial that she knew her sibling planned to lure Morris -- known as "Shay" -- to their condo on the pretext of selling her pot.

According to the prosecutor, Sean Mihajson called his sister at the mall that day to ask her to buy duct tape and plastic sheeting, which she did. He also told her he needed to borrow her van, Nolan said.

After Morris disappeared, the Mihajsons, who did not have jobs, rented rooms at two hotels in the Coachella Valley, then a home in Las Vegas.

Vanesa Mihajson was profiled on the television series "America's Most Wanted." She was arrested in April 2009 in Havelock, N.C., where an
investigator from the Riverside County District Attorney's Office tracked her down after researching her MySpace account.