Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.




John Samuel GHOBRIAL





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Child molester - Dismemberment
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: March 17, 1998
Date of arrest: 5 days after
Date of birth: 1970
Victim profile: Juan Delgado, 12
Method of murder: ???
Location: La Habra, Orange County, California, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on April 2, 2002

photo gallery


Pedophile dismembers his 12-year-old molest victim and buries him in cement

1998: John Samuel Ghobrial, an Egyptian national and a panhandler, was sentenced to death April 2, 2002 for molesting and dismembering Juan Delgado, a 12-year-old La Habra boy in March 1998, and then scattering his remains in concrete cylinders.

After killing Juan in a shed that contained adult pornographic magazines, Ghobrial, a trained butcher, carved up the boy with a meat cleaver in an attempt to hide the crime.

Ghobrial then went to a home-improvement store and purchased cement and other materials and caught a ride home from a stranger.

He stuffed the sixth- grader’s remains into seven concrete cylinders and scattered them around the neighborhood.

The boy’s genitals had been removed and have never have been found, according to news accounts.

Ghobrial is still on Death Row.

Larry Welborn - The Orange County Register


Youth's Killer Deserves to Die, Jurors Decide

John Ghobrial molested, murdered and dismembered 12-year-old La Habra boy. He will be sentenced in March

By May Tran - Los Angeles Times

December 21, 2001

A jury on Thursday recommended the death sentence for an Egyptian immigrant convicted of molesting and killing a 12-year-old La Habra boy before encasing his dismembered body in concrete chunks.

The jury took less than five hours to decide, with some panelists describing the deliberations as emotionally wrenching. Several jurors wept as they left the courthouse.

"We all agreed on the penalty, but it's hard to put someone to death," said one juror, who declined to give his name.

Juror Richard Green of Fullerton said he and his colleagues won't soon forget the graphic elements of the trial, especially the details of how John Samuel Ghobrial, 31, tried to dispose of Juan Delgado's body parts in large chunks of concrete that leaked blood. Superior Court Judge John J. Ryan will sentence Ghobrial on March 21.

He said some jurors were so disgusted that they refused to look at some of the crime scene photos.

Showing no emotion, Ghobrial stared ahead in court as each juror confirmed his or her vote in favor of the death sentence.

During the two-week trial, defense attorneys acknowledged that Ghobrial played a role in Juan's 1998 death. But they insisted the killing was not premeditated.

They also argued that the one-armed immigrant had a "deformed brain" and suffered from schizophrenia.

To help suggest a pattern of behavior, prosecutors last week brought to the stand a young cousin of Ghobrial who said he almost suffered the same fate as Juan seven years earlier in Egypt when the defendant beat and stabbed him

"Ghobrial is a pathetic figure," prosecutor David Brent said outside of the courtroom Thursday. "He is very evil and is out for his own selfish desires."

Assistant Public Defender Denise Gragg, who represented Ghobrial, could not be reached for comment.

After allegedly assaulting his cousin in the mid-1990s, Ghobrial fled Egypt. Three years later, he made his way to Texas.

There he told federal officials he had been persecuted in Egypt because he was a Coptic Christian. An immigration judge granted him religious asylum.

Eventually, Ghobrial landed in La Habra. He had no job, but some residents were touched by his disability and tried to help him.

One family rented him a backyard shed. Ghobrial became known in the neighborhood for giving candy to children.

He befriended Juan, a Washington Middle School student who lived nearby. The boy was last seen in March 1998, walking with a one-armed man who was carrying a basketball.

Authorities say Ghobrial carved up the boy with a meat cleaver. Four days after Juan disappeared, neighbors discovered the first of the large concrete pieces

Detectives searched Ghobrial's shed and recovered some of Juan's clothes, a school detention slip, bags of concrete and pornographic magazines.

Ghobrial's trial was delayed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when his attorneys questioned whether a man from a Middle Eastern country could receive a fair trial.

Juror Green said there was no hint of prejudice on the panel.

"They selected a group of people that I was very proud to be a part of," Green said.

"I think we weighed it; that's what you're supposed to do. And I think we were fair about that."

Since 1992, 12 killers have been executed on San Quentin's death row, including three from Orange County.


Man Is Convicted of Killing Boy, 12

By Jack Leonard and Stuart Pfeifer - Los Angeles Times

December 12, 2001

An Egyptian immigrant accused in the slaying of a 12-year-old La Habra boy was found guilty Tuesday of molesting and killing the child and then encasing his dismembered body in concrete.

Family members of the victim sobbed quietly in a Santa Ana courtroom as jurors announced the first-degree murder conviction of John Samuel Ghobrial, 31. The jury deliberated four hours.

During the two-week trial, defense attorneys acknowledged that Ghobrial, who has only one arm, played a role in the 1998 death of Juan Delgado. But they insisted that the killing was not premeditated and that the emigre known as a friendly panhandler did not sexually assault the sixth-grader.

The verdicts were welcomed by La Habra police officials, many of whom were so distraught by evidence in the case that the department hired a psychologist to help them cope.

Officers followed a trail of concrete blocks, leaking blood and some weighing as much as 200 pounds, to the shed where Ghobrial was living.

"We're pleased that the jury sees things the way we do," said La Habra Police Capt. John Rees. "It was a grisly case for the community and the people who had to work it."

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. The sentencing phase begins today. Jurors are expected to hear for the first time that Ghobrial was accused of a similar attack in Egypt.

Prosecutors said his cousin will testify that Ghobrial molested him when he was 8 and attacked him with a penknife, repeatedly stabbing him in the chest and stomach.

Ghobrial fled Egypt after the assault, authorities allege. Three years later, he made his way to Texas. There, he told federal officials he had been persecuted in Egypt because he was a Coptic Christian. An immigration judge granted him religious asylum.

Eventually, Ghobrial moved to La Habra. He didn't have a job, but some residents were touched by his disability and tried to help him. One family allowed him to rent a backyard shed. And Ghobrial became known for giving candy to neighborhood children.

He struck up a friendship with Juan, a Washington Middle School student who lived nearby. The boy was last seen alive in March 1998, walking with a one-armed man who was carrying a basketball.

Authorities allege that Ghobrial carved up the boy's body with a meat cleaver. Four days after Juan disappeared, shocked neighbors discovered the first of the large concrete pieces.

Detectives searched Ghobrial's shed and recovered some of Juan's clothes, a school detention slip, bags of concrete and pornographic magazines.

Prosecutors said they believe Ghobrial used a shopping cart to move the blocks.

During closing arguments, the attorneys debated whether Ghobrial raped Juan.

Deputy Dist. Atty. David Brent said Ghobrial "had an unnatural desire" for the boy. But Deputy Public Defender Denise Gragg argued that scientific tests did not conclusively prove that Juan was raped before being killed.


Drifter Suspected in Boy's Death

Inquiry narrowed to a one-handed man living in the shed that held evidence. Friend says victim told him of being followed

By Esther Schrader and Mimi Ko Cruz - Los Angeles Times

March 24, 1998

LA HABRA — The schoolboy whose dismembered body was found encased in concrete was killed by a one-handed drifter who lived alone in a backyard shed strewn with sexually explicit magazines and children's toys, police alleged Monday.

Six people who live in a house and trailer on the property where Juan Delgado, 12, allegedly was killed were released by police Monday, a day after they were arrested. But prosecutors plan to charge the remaining suspect, John Samuel Ghobrial, 27, an Egyptian emigre, with murder.

Police allege that Ghobrial, who is missing his right hand and forearm, killed the boy and dismembered his body while the other residents of the property were away from home. Ghobrial then encased some of the boy's body parts in concrete blocks, one of which weighed 200 pounds, and dumped them on some nearby lawns, police charged.

As a shocked city left tributes of flowers and stuffed animals at the spot where Juan's body was found, and schools gave their students counseling and safety lessons, a picture emerged of the young victim as an outgoing, independent boy who reportedly had complained in recent weeks that he was being followed by a stranger.

Police, meanwhile, struggled to explain how one man, and a one-handed man at that, might have killed Juan and disposed of his body alone.

"It's difficult, and we are wrestling with this all the time: How could one person, especially one person who doesn't have two full arms and hands, accomplish this?" Police Capt. John Rees said. "But we haven't been able to determine that one person couldn't do it."

Police have yet to establish a motive for the killing, Rees said, but are investigating the possibility of a sex crime. The boy's pelvis is still missing, Rees said, making it difficult to determine whether the boy had been sexually abused.

A 10-year-old friend of Juan's said in an interview Monday that his friend had complained to him three weeks ago that a man had been following him.

"The last time he told me about the guy was like three Sundays ago at church," the youngster said. "Juan pulled me outside and told me that some guy kept bothering him. He said he was scared and the guy kept following him after school."

Parts of Juan's body were found Saturday, mainly in two concrete cylinders containing blood and human tissue. The cylinders were found within two blocks of the Greenwood Avenue property where Ghobrial had rented a backyard shed since Feb. 28.

Police believe Ghobrial asphyxiated and dismembered the boy in the shed, then encased some of his remains in concrete he mixed and poured in white paint buckets. Then, Rees said, police believe Ghobrial rolled the heavy cylinders into an upended shopping cart, rolled the righted cart into the street and dumped the concrete cylinders on neighbors' lawns.

Police said the other people living on the property had solid alibis and are no longer considered suspects. But investigators have not ruled out the possibility that Ghobrial may have had some assistance from unknown people.

As the police investigation continued, La Habra residents who said Ghobrial was a well-known panhandler said they had never considered the quiet man dangerous. Shoppers at the Plaza Shopping Center often gave him money.

Maria Eugenia Asturias, who owns the home in the 600 block of Greenwood Avenue with her two grown children and rents a trailer on the property to three more people, said she agreed to rent the shed to Ghobrial in late February for $100 a month.

"My kids didn't want me to rent the shack to him, but I just felt sorry for him," Asturias said.

"He doesn't have an arm and he can't work. It's really sad. . . . Now we're scared."

Inside the shed Monday were several children's storybooks on a shelf. Another shelf was covered with children's clothing. On a third was a mannequin's head, heavily made up and smeared with red nail polish. Stuffed animals were strewn on the floor next to sexually explicit magazines.

It was not clear when Ghobrial, who emigrated to the United States through Mexico, arrived here, police said. Ghobrial told authorities he lost his arm when he was attacked by a mob of Muslim fundamentalists.

Police said he may have befriended Juan at a Harbor Boulevard butcher's shop near the boy's house and persuaded the sixth-grader to go home with him voluntarily.

The owner of the market, Imran Bholat, said Ghobrial often came in seeking money and a job. Juan was friendly with employees and sometimes carried shoppers' bags to their cars for tips.

But Bholat and other employees of the store said they had never seen the two together.

They had nothing but praise for Juan.

"He was such a good kid, a good kid," said the butcher at the store, who spoke on condition he not be named. "He wanted to grow up fast and work to help his mother. He really loved his mother."

The boy had been missing since last Tuesday afternoon, when he left Washington Middle School but failed to come home.

Margarita Delgado said her son had left home twice before for several days, turning up at the houses of friends. So when he did not come home Tuesday, she did not worry.

But when her son was still missing Thursday afternoon, Delgado called the police.

At the home where Juan lived with his parents and five sisters and brothers, friends and relatives spent much of Monday speaking with the mother.

"He was nice to everyone. Everyone on the block knew him," Delgado said, speaking haltingly of her fourth-born child.

"He was so friendly. He would go to his friends' houses and forget to call home. . . . I was worried about his independence. I was worried that something would happen to him, being off alone."

Delgado said her husband, a truck driver, is on his way home from a job in Massachusetts.

As neighbors left flowers, stuffed animals and lighted votive candles near where Juan's remains were found, La Habra parents worried for the safety of their children.

Administrators at the La Habra City School District said their schools are cautioning students on safety. And at the middle school that Juan attended, four psychologists and four counselors spoke with students Monday about the sixth-grader's death.

Laura Johnson, 34, who lives next door to Ghobrial, said she kept her daughter home from school Monday and walked her son.

"It's a terrible feeling," she said. "I just pray to God that he will protect us because this can happen anywhere, any time."

Police have established the Juan Delgado Memorial Fund to assist the Delgado family at California State Bank, 441 W. Whittier Blvd., La Habra, CA 90631.

Times staff writer Erika Chavez contributed to this report.



home last updates contact