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Drug Dealer Found Guilty in Brutal Murder of TV Exec Who Vanished 5 Years Ago

KCBS KCBS

A California drug dealer has been convicted of killing a Hollywood TV executive and burying him in a shallow grave.

John Creech discovered his wife had been having an affair with the entertainment exec, 57-year-old Gavin Smith, and beat him to death after discovering the two in an intimate moment.

Creech escaped the more severe charges of first- and second-degree murder in a Los Angeles court Monday. He was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in Smith's May 1, 2012 death.

Read: Family of Missing TV Exec Continues Search

Prosecutors said that Smith had been having an affair with Creech’s estranged wife, Chandrika Cade, and Creech was able to track them down using the GPS in his wife’s phone, KCBS.com reported.

Authorities said Creech fatally beat Smith after finding the two in Smith’s Mercedes-Benz. Cade testified against Creech at his trial.

Creech then buried Smith in the desert. His body wasn’t found for two years.

Police turned their attention to Creech, a convicted drug dealer, after finding the Mercedes in a storage unit that was registered to him.

At the time, Smith had been a top-level executive with 20th Century Fox for nearly two decades.

His family suspected something was terribly wrong when he didn't call or show up for work.

Smith, who was on UCLA's 1975 national championship basketball team, worked behind the scenes distributing movies like Avatar and Titanic.

Read: Wife Of Missing Movie Executive Speaks Out

He also had small roles in two films.

He played a bartender in Cobb, a 1994 biopic of baseball legend Ty Cobb, and a bodyguard in 1988’s Glitz.  

Creech testified that he killed Smith in self-defense, claiming that it was Smith who threw the first punch and tried to gouge out his eyes in the encounter, KCBS reported.

Creech's sentencing is scheduled for September 19. He faces up to 11 years in prison.

Watch: Missing Starbucks Worker Seen at Gas Station, Showed No Signs of Distress: Cops

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