In 1997, Susan Mellen, a mother of three, was falsely accused of committing the gruesome murder of Rick Daly.
At the time, Susan was living with her boyfriend, Tom, and her two youngest children, Jessica (9) and Donnie (7). She was a gentle and doting mother, who succumbed to pressure to use methamphetamine in her early 30's. She continued to use intermittently for the next 10 years.
In 1996, after her relationship with the kids' father end, Susan dated Rick Daly briefly. Rick was good to her and her children; however, the relationship ended when Rick went to jail. Susan met Tom in January 1997 and they had been dating for several months when Susan needed to move out of her mother's house. Susan and her kids ultimately moved in with Tom in his Redondo Beach apartment.
In July, Tom received notice that he was being evicted from the apartment, so Susan and Tom found a place a house in Gardena. They picked up the keys on Sunday, July 20. Tom worked the next day, so Susan, her daughter Jessica and Tom's father, Jim packed boxes and moved many of the smaller items in Susan's car and Jim's truck on the evening of July 21. Susan was with Jessica all day and with Jim all evening.
Several miles away, three male Lawndale gang members were present in an abandoned house when one or more of them savagely attacked Rick Daly.