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Magician made man disappear now faces life in prison

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — A Big Bear Lake man was convicted by a jury of first degree murder Monday for shooting and murdering a man.

On April 12, 2016, 55-year-old Frank Popovich Jr.-a magician who owns the Black Fox Trading Co. in Big Bear-went to a local nightclub in Big Bear and saw the victim, 42-year-old James Clark, in the back parking lot.

According to Deputy District Attorney Larissa Ruescher, who prosecuted the case, Popovich and the victim knew each other as friends and the victim had even worked in the defendant’s business.

After less than three minutes, Popovich started shoving the victim and pointing his finger in the victim’s face. The victim did nothing to defend himself and showed no signs of aggression towards the defendant.

Popovich was not visible for ten seconds and then a flash of a gun muzzle goes off and the victim’s body drops to the ground.

“In a scene that was captured on surveillance video, the defendant then walked over to the victim’s head area and slapped the victim in the head,” DDA Ruescher said. “The defendant then walked to the feet of the victim, took the cigarette from his left hand, and continued to smoke it for a full thirty seconds while standing over the victim’s body.”

Popovich faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison when sentenced next month.




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