The SLO County Sheriff’s Office is investigating two unrelated homicides that occurred in the county within days of each other, leaving two people dead and two others in custody.
The first of the two deaths was discovered on Nov. 14 during a standoff between sheriff’s deputies and Nicole Honait Luxor, 61, of Paso Robles. Deputies were responding to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon at Luxor’s Paso Robles home when they discovered she’d barricaded herself inside. Members of the department’s special enforcement detail, SED, entered the house, where they found the victim, later identified as 34-year-old Benjamin Derrel Terra, but had to retreat when Luxor reportedly shot at them. Luxor, a self-described clairvoyant metaphysician, surrendered just after midnight, but not before firing multiple shots at law enforcement officers after members of the SED fired tear gas into her home, according to sheriff’s officials.
Luxor was booked in custody in SLO County Jail under suspicion of murder and 36 counts of attempted murder. Bail for Luxor was set at $1 million.
Just days later, on Nov. 16, the Sheriff’s Office received report of a suspicious death at a home in the 600 block of Rancho Oaks Drive in rural San Luis Obispo. There, investigators found the body of 54-year-old Walter Ernest Vallivero, who appeared to have died from blunt force trauma injuries. According to department officials, investigators believe that 40-year-old Charles Chad Giese, the victim’s roommate, killed the man after an argument between the two Nov. 15, according to a press release.
Giese was booked in the San Luis Obispo County Jail under suspicion of murder, according to jail records. No bond information was available.
The two murder investigations bring the number of homicides in the Sheriff’s Office’s jurisdiction so far this year to four, more than the two reported in 2014. Sheriff’s spokesperson Tony Cipolla said it was hard to suss out the cause of the rise due to the low number of occurrences.
“It’s very difficult to extrapolate trends when you are dealing with very low numbers like this,” Cipolla said. “Each of the homicides listed have a different set of circumstances attached to them, so there’s no one answer that can explain them all.”
The overall numbers are relatively low; the highest number of homicides reported by the agency in the last 10 years was six total homicides in 2010.
“It’s worthy to note, according to the Department of Justice and FBI stats, the homicide rate in the county is well below the national average for similar sized counties,” Cipolla said. “Last year’s rate of homicide was 0.16 per 10,000 residents, way below the national rate for non-metropolitan counties.”