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Lawyer Eric Fagan Charged With 1989 Slaying, Trying to Cover Molestation

Friday, October 30, 2009 at 9:00 am
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Attorney Eric Fagan has been charged with the murder of Cathy Paternoster
California attorney Eric Fagan recently appeared in court -- only this time, it wasn't to get a client out of debt collection or foreclosure. The 74-year-old Fagan is currently facing murder charges in a 20-year-old case. 

On October 11, 1989, Cathy Paternoster, along with her boyfriend and three daughters, was arriving at her home in suburban San Diego when a man leaped out of the bushes and shot Paternoster dead. The gunman also injured her beau, Carl Ferst, but left the three girls unharmed before fleeing the scene. Fagan was named a person of interest at the time, but police could never gather enough evidence to press charges...

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Paternoster was shot dead in front her three daughters
​Then, in April of 2008, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department decided to reopen the case. Authorities came to believe that they finally had enough ammo to bring Fagan down. 

Sheriff's Sergeant Frank Montanez told the Associated Press that "it wasn't that we found the smoking gun or a DNA hit...we served some search warrants and interviewed people. Over time, relationships change and sometimes people are willing to come forward with information that helps our case."

Apparently, at the time the murder, Fagan was dating Paternoster's mother. He was also the suspect in an ongoing molestation case involving Paternoster's daughters. Police now believe that by killing off Paternoster, Fagan was hoping that her mother could gain custody of the girls -- his alleged victims. 

Right after Paternoster's slaying, Fagan quickly disappeared to Orange County. He later returned to the area and since 1989, he's continued practicing civil law. His website claims that, since 1979, he's "represented the underdog." In 2001, Fagan also published a book on Internet Dating called "Cast Your Net: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Your Soul Mate On The Internet." 

Last week, he pleaded not guilty to the charges. He's currently being held on $2 million bail while prosecutor's review his case.


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