Sasha Merman, aka Alexander Merman, was a teacher and artist who was found dead in his Santa Monica, California, condo eight years ago. It took detectives four years to solve his murder. The killer was identified as his former friend and financial advisor Daniel Becerril, according to LA Times.The Merman-Becerril story will be on tonight’s Unusual Suspects on Investigation Discovery (ID). The episode, entitled “Final Lesson,” will recount how a savvy artist and teacher was duped by a con-man who stole money from him and ultimately killed him in his expensive condo. On the show tonight, you’ll most likely hear from people who knew Sasha Merman personally, as well as police officers who worked the case for years.
Sasha Merman was a great guy who had many friends. A well-respected artist and teacher, Sasha loved nothing more than art. He also liked helping people. Police say it was his trusting nature that was his downfall. 911 operators were called to a condo located at 520 Montana Avenue in Santa Monica. It was there that they found the dead body of the 35-year old elementary school teacher. Police had been dispatched to the scene after the building manager found the body during a welfare check. The manager told police that Sasha Merman’s mother had become worried when she hadn’t heard from her son and asked him to run up and check on him.
An autopsy report confirmed that Alexander “Sasha” Merman had died of multiple stab wounds to various parts of his body, including his head and back. It was a sad end for a man who was so passionate about life.
Detectives processed the scene and gathered clues but were unable to make an arrest until 2012. That’s when new evidence led them directly to Daniel Edward Becerril — a man who police say befriended Alexander Merman and counseled him about his financial matters. The relationship soured between the two friends after Sasha Merman found out that Becerril was swindling him out of thousands of dollars. He had also loaned the money advisor over $200,000 to start his own business — money that authorities say he was never re-paid.
In addition to the loan, the financial calculations totaled up to over $300,000 that Daniel Becerril had stolen from Sasha Merman’s investment accounts. At some point, Sasha Merman must have confronted Daniel Becerril about the missing funds, which led to a ferocious struggle inside the Montana Avenue apartment, judging by the amount of blood found at the scene.
His poor mother knew from the beginning that Daniel Becerril was not a man that her son should trust. In an interview, she stated that she told her son that Becerril looked like a killer, a comment that Sasha Merman didn’t take seriously. After Alexander Sasha Merman’s death, Daniel Becerril sort of disappeared, not even bothering to go to the funeral or to call the family in the days after his death, according to LA Weekly.
At his trial, Daniel Becerril was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison for the death of Sasha Merman and the felony charges, which included money laundering and theft. As it turned out, Daniel Becerril and his wife had a history of stealing other people’s money and tying it up in various schemes.
The Russian-born teacher had no idea what he was walking into when he forged a relationship with Daniel Becerril — a ruthless and greedy killer who had nothing but money on his mind. What Becerril did was take away a loving teacher who cared about his students. On a Topix discussion board, his students left the following comments about him.
“Alexander Merman was a teacher of mines and he was so kind and funny he would always be like “Blake Do my classwork.”() I love that teacher he was a inspiration to me when i was 13 and is now the reason i live to be a successful three-dimensional artist till this day, simply because of that guy. if he wasn’t there to give me that push i wouldn’t have succeeded or would have been motivated to continue with what i do till this very moment.”
“I went to the services today for my good Friend Sasha Merman. I played hockey with him for the last few years. I can say after seeing the gathering for his funeral, that he was Loved by many, and had quite an influence on all who were lucky enough to have known him. His students I know will miss him. Our hockey team already misses his smile and humor at every game.”
Sasha Merman’s story will air tonight on Investigation Discovery’s Unusual Suspects check your local listings for exact times.
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