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Couple Accused Of Dismembering Good Samaritan In Skid Row Hotel Go To Trial

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A trial is set to start today in the case of a Pennsylvania couple accused of murdering a Good Samaritan and dismembering his body in a Skid Row hotel over Thanksgiving weekend in 2010.

The murder was gruesome. The body of 49-year-old Herbert Tracy White was discovered in the Continental Hotel by a hotel maid on Nov. 29, 2010. It had been cut up into five pieces with parts of it stuffed into a backpack and wrapped in blankets, according to the Los Angeles Times. Edward and Melissa Garcia were arrested and charged in White's murder.

White was a former alcoholic who had been sober for fifteen years and routinely tried to help people who were struggling by giving them money, rides and support. Family members worried that someone would take advantage of his kind and giving nature. White's brother told The Times, "He would accept you first, then run your resume later."

The night that White was murdered he got a telephone call at 2 a.m. from a couple that he had befriended at an ATM, according to the Associated Press. White's wife said that he used to offer to give rides to people who were too drunk to drive, and so she figured that's what had happened. Thanksgiving was always a busy time of year for helping others.

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White met up with the couple to give them money and pay for a $40/night hotel on Skid Row. He went up to their room with them. Police say they believe the couple intended to rob him. The couple were found later at a drug house in Hollywood surrounded by trash and waste.

The couple have been charged with murder with special circumstance allegations and could face the death penalty.