The Orange County Register/March 4, 1990
By James V. Grimaldi and Jeff D. Opdyke
FULLERTON – Police found a 3-year-old girl stabbed to death early Saturday after a 21-year-old unemployed laborer who had been baby-sitting the toddler told emergency dispatchers: “I just killed a baby.”
The girl, identified by neighbors and her pastor as Marcelene Boydston, was found in an apartment in the 1600 block of Picadilly Way. The girl’s mother, Joanne Boydston, had left the girl and her infant brother with neighbors who also attend her church.
Michael Robert Pacewitz was booked into Fullerton’s city jail pending filing of a murder charge. He was being held without bail.
Police said they do not know why the girl was slain.
Joanne Boydston, who is in her early 20’s, had not returned home late Saturday. But neighbors said she frequently is gone all day, and police do not suspect she is the victim of foul play.
Marcelene’s father has not lived with the family for years and police had not found him as of Saturday evening. The girl’s 9-month-old brother, Shawn, was found unharmed in the apartment. He was taken to Orangewood Children’s Home in Orange, the county home for abandoned, abused and neglected children.
Pacewitz, a fundamentalist Christian who Thursday dropped his pants and mooned a church congregation, had been acting bizarrely, said Robert Town, pastor of Jacob’s Well church in Fullerton. Town said Pacewitz had told friends and members of his church that he had been taking methamphetamines since he lost his job at a print shop three weeks ago.
Despite his recent behavior, Pacewitz’s arrest stunned Town and fellow churchgoers.
“I never fathomed that a thing like this could ever happen,” Town said. “It just doesn’t seem right.”
Fullerton police officers detained Pacewitz after receiving a 911 emergency call just before 6 a.m. from a phone booth at Gilbert Street and Commonwealth Avenue, several blocks from the Brentwood Arms Apartments where the baby’s body was found.
Pacewitz confessed to killing the child, and then led officers to the Marcelene’s body, police said. She was dressed in blue jeans and a blouse and had been stabbed numerous times.
A kitchen knife was found in Pacewitz’s pocket, Capt. Lee Devore said.
Scott East, who lives across the hall from the Boydston apartment, said he heard violent pounding, a man hollering and the dying girl scream at 3:15 a.m.
“I could hear it all,” East said. “It sounded like somebody was bouncing the little girl off the wall and the floor, and yelling.”
East said he could not tell what this man was shouting, but it sounded like “bowie,” or “Boo.”
Then he heard a thud come from Boydston’s bedroom.
“It was hard and it was solid,” East said. “It woke everybody up.”
Jeff Rimack, who lives in the apartment below, said Boydston stopped by their apartment sometime after 11 p.m. and asked his roommate Robert Henderson to watch her children while she went to see a friend. She did not give details about her trip, Rimack said
“I heard noises through the night that woke me up, but the noises stopped and I went back to sleep,” Rimack said. “I didn’t find out what happened until this morning.”
Henderson watched the children until he got tired, and then he asked Pacewitz, who was visiting Henderson, to take over, Town said.
Pacewitz, Boydston, and her neighbors – east, Henderson and Rimack – all attend Jacob’s Well, a non-denominational Christian church on Raymer Avenue in Fullerton.
Boydston occasionally would ask churchgoers and neighbors to watch the children, Town said.
Boydston and Pacewitz, who reportedly never have dated, both joined Jacob’s Well Christian Centre about a year ago after members of the church invited them to Bible studies. They had been living at the Anaheim Village Inn at the time.
Town said Boydston and Pacewitz told him that they had drug problems, but had stopped using and became Christians.
“He was a drug addict before he got saved,” Town said. “When he gave his life to Christ, he gave up drugs and cleaned his act up real well.”
Pacewitz was a regular member of twice-daily church services, and, like most members of the church, spoke “in tongues,” Town said.
However, three weeks ago, Pacewitz quit his job at Expressions Print and Embroidery and began having personal problems, his friends said.
“He was having a spiritual battle,” said Jim Fuller, a member of Jacob’s Well who lived with Pacewitz and other church members in a home in the 1600 block of West Commonwealth Avenue until three weeks ago.
“It was a satanic force who was trying to harm a kid who was trying to serve God,” Fuller said. “He was having difficulty in sorting out his life and giving his life to God.”
Pacewitz attended the fifth day of a week-long revival at Jacob’s Well on Thursday night, assistant pastor Dale Sams said. Near the end of the service, as churchgoers raised hands in praise of God, Pacewitz walked to the front go the hall.
“He dropped his drawers,” Sams said, “and I marched up there and waved the ushers on.”
Members of the congregation gasped, but a visiting evangelist from Colorado continued the service saying, “Let’s praise the Lord.”
Outside, Pacewitz was apologetic and told an usher he had been taking crystal methamphetamine during the past three weeks, Town said.
In January, the church severed ties with the controversial Arizona-based fundamentalist church, Potter’s House, described by detractors as a cult.
In recent months, TV programs such as “48 Hours” and “Geraldo” have raised questions about Potter’s House. On the programs, anti-cult groups have alleged that Potter’s House practices mind control. The church’s national leaders deny the charges, but Town said his church left Potter’s House because it was too “hard-line.”
Neighbors said Marcelene – a blue-eyed blonde – frequently was seen playing without shoes. Her hair often appeared dirty. They said she was playful, but timid and withdrawn.
Boydston, whom police did not identify by name, could face charges of child endangerment, police officer Karen Lindsey said.