Man found with body on ice speaks briefly from jail
He hints at reason for what happened.
By JAIMEE FLETCHER, JEFF OVERLEY, ERIKA I. RITCHIE and COURTNEY PERKES
The Orange County Register
A man found with a dead woman’s body on dry ice in his Newport Beach hotel room spoke briefly from the Orange County Jail this morning.
“Everything that happened was for religious reasons,” Stephen David Royds told a reporter.
Royds, whose eyes were weary and bloodshot, repeated the statement four times. He declined to say more.
The body of Monique Felicia Trepp was discovered in Room 966 at the Fairmont Hotel just before midnight Thursday, shortly after narcotics investigators say they arrested Royds with a small amount of cocaine.
Public records paint a drug-filled portrait of both Trepp and Royds.
Trepp, 33, was wanted on several narcotics charges in Colorado when police found her body being chilled in a plastic tub of dry ice, court records show.
Royds, 46, also has a rap sheet, and according to police used the alias of Mel Profitt – virtually the same name of a manic-depressive drug kingpin in the 1987 season of television’s “Wiseguy.”
After being arrested late Thursday on charges of cocaine possession and sales, Royds was sent to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian for “some medical condition,” Newport Beach police Sgt. Jerry Lowe said.
He was booked Saturday afternoon at Orange County Jail in Santa Ana, where he was ineligible for bail because of a suspected probation violation. He is to be arraigned on the drug charge Monday, and has not been either implicated or cleared in Trepp’s death.
“He is being interviewed about what may have happened,” said Sgt. Evan Sailor.
Trepp, whose last known address was on 14th Street in downtown Huntington Beach, had outstanding warrants in Colorado. Prosecutors in 2005 had charged her with several felonies, including possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.
Mark S. Rubinstein, a private attorney who represented Trepp in the case, said by phone Saturday that he remembered her being with “a much-older man” who posted her bail, after which she skipped town.
Rubinstein couldn’t recall the type of drugs Trepp was charged with possessing, but said that the amount was significant. “We usually don’t see this kind of quantity” in the lightly populated areas west of Denver, he said.
An autopsy ruled out homicide in her death, and toxicology tests will take several weeks to complete, according to a spokesman for the Orange County Coroner’s Office.
Royds in 2002 pleaded guilty in Orange County Superior Court to five felony charges, four of which were related to either possession or sale of a controlled substance, and one of which involved possession of a forged driver’s license, court records show.
According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, he used the pseudonym of Mel Proffitt. A barely different spelling of the name – Mel Profitt – was a character played by actor Kevin Spacey in “Wiseguy.”
In the show, Profitt is a mad genius steeped in the international drug and arms trades.
At the Fairmont, a number of peculiar items dotted Royds’ room and balcony, including dilapidated porch swings, a box of toy night-vision goggles and magnum-sized bottles of sake that had lamp sockets stuffed in their spouts.
Authorities have not disclosed how long Royds had been staying at the Fairmont, how long Trepp might have been dead or where Royds acquired the dry ice. According to several Web sites, dry ice vaporizes at a rate of five-to-10 pounds per day.
Police are asking anyone with information to call 800-550-NBPD.
Major points for the Wiseguy references. Are all cokeheads stuck in the 80s?